It is about children and we need to agree on that.

I cannot fathom the fact that early childhood programs are at risk, more than ever, and yet we are facing another budget cut. We were deemed ESSENTIAL less than two months ago and yet in the nation’s capital we are facing $5 million CUT in FY21 budget proposal. In addition, DC Council is considering a bill that EXCLUDES child care from emergency business grants, while we have been shouting that this program is essential to stabilizing the industry, especially during this pandemic.

Like many of you, I am speechless. Sad. Heartbroken. Infuriated. Disappointed. I know the power, dedication and the love we educators have. We have always been highly resilient and creative. We give our all to the children. For us, this is a lifestyle, not a job. Making a difference in families’ lives, holding children’s hands through their early years, comforting them, guiding them as they are growing. We are the people whom families depend on. We are the people whom families entrust with their most precious beings in the whole wide world. We are educators, brain builders. We are raising the architects of the future of this country and this world.

We read and talk about brain research and what is says about children during early years before they are even born. We all seem to agree with science, but yet, early childhood programs are not that important. You have seen the news on which industry received how much funding during the pandemic. According to CNN, Senate approved $50 billion to help airlines. It is politics again. It always has been. Let’s not make our children’s future about politics. High quality education and intentional care are what children and families need. What can be more important than the safety and well being of our children?

According to Center for Global Development, there are budget cuts in early childhood education in low and middle-income countries. The US is one of the richest countries in the world, so why are we experiencing the same issue? We have science backing us up and families who need us. Children need us, they deserve better. According to Census Bureau, Washington, DC has one of the highest spending per pupil in public elementary and secondary education with $21,974 in 2017. Why can’t non-public small programs receive funding? The notion of private preschools serving for the rich is so wrong. Great majority of our families are middle income, both working parent households.

According to the Washington Teachers Union, the entry level salary of a public school teacher is roughly $67,000 compare to $32,200 (as of July 1,2020) of an early childhood educator working in a child care program that receives government funding. That is $15.00 per hour, according to the Living Wage Act. Some programs who do not receive government funding cannot even afford to pay that amount.

It is time to build a better system that allows middle and low-income families to make a choice for their families while public high quality early childhood programs are scarce and there are programs, center or home based, already exist in the city providing that option. The system never worked. We made it work so far by paying our teachers low wages and increasing our tuition rate, which has resulted in putting the burden on our teachers and families. This is not sustainable and it is not just to our children, nor it is to our educators.

Appreciation

You wake up every morning, go to work, complete your tasks and probably start new ones… Is it all for money? Can money be the full satisfaction? My answer is a definite no. I work because I like the feeling of being productive. Helping people, making a change in their lives and being a cause for many to steer the wheel towards a better path. The taste of achievement and success is priceless. Noone can pay me enough for that. But I would never turn away a thank you. After all, this is the best way of someone appreciating my work.  

Flip the coin. You wake up evey morning, go to work, complete tasks and start new ones so and so forth. You get paid a lot of money to do your job. But you are criticised often, people around you think they can do a better job and they have no problem treating you in any which way they are pleased to. Sometimes out of the professional frame work. You tirelessly continue to work thinking that you are going to make a change and your work will be appreciated by your superiors and even the clients. Until you realize that it is a brick wall you are hitting and there is not even a crack. Well, this is when you decide to change gears and your path. In the end, you need the feeling of accomplishment and appreciation. Though it comes a little late and you are even offered more money as if IT is the problem, you make a decision to change the gear. Because money cannot fill in the gap and it sure cannot buy respect and trust.

Most bosses and or employers think that money solves all the problems. On the contrary, it is the approach and appreciation that is verbalized before the train leaves the station that makes the difference. Working with people face to face, expecting quality work, dedication and building trust is not about money but it is about relationships. Life is about relatioships no matter what role you have in any given setting. 

There are values in life and these are gained in time with mutual respect, recognizing one’s authority, work and product.It is the best thing to objectively assess where you are within this relationship. Professional and personal ones. I made it an intentional process to observe myself and others. I thrive to take the time to verbally appreciate the good and even the effort no matter what the outcome is. I know that noone and nothing is perfect and we all are in the process of achieving better outcomes and reaching higher levels. A little appreciation goes a long way before the opportunity is missed.