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Jordy van den Nieuwendijk

To the Editor:

Re “Pick a Preschool in Under an Hour,” by David L. Kirp (Sunday Review, Feb. 5):

Thank you for your essay on what a quality preschool might look like. We should keep in mind that preschool teachers with bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education have the distinction of having the lowest lifetime earnings of any college graduates.

One grandparent who loved the preschool where I am the director made a statement to me that surprised me. He said, “Well, at least your teachers get paid better than those at other schools.” “No,” I told him, “they actually don’t.” I have managed to win modest gains in wages and benefits for my staff in a difficult economic environment, but preschool teachers remain grossly underpaid.

Parents don’t necessarily pay more for better programs, and teachers don’t necessarily get better pay.

Preschool teachers, even with college degrees and 10 to 20 years of experience, often make less than $20 an hour. Maybe it’s time for parents and our society to begin to press for better compensation for early childhood education teachers.

DIANE WIKSE

Santa Rosa, Calif.

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