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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The American Rescue Plan: Recommendations for Addressing Early Educator Compensation and Supports


The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) represents unprecedented federal investment in early care and education, with new and broader allowances for workforce compensation (H.R. 1319, 2021).

The early care and education (ECE) workforce deserve economic dignity, including the resources to care for their own families and children (Sperling, 2019). Yet, wages remain low and poverty rates high among this essential workforce as workers in nearly all other occupations are paid more (McLean, et al., 2021). There is an urgent need to utilize ARPA funding to get much-needed relief in the form of direct cash assistance to ECE workers in recognition of their historic underpayment, their key contribution to the nation’s infrastructure before and during the pandemic, and the financial and psychological toll the pandemic has imposed on these critical workers. 

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