By Jillian Berman

The push is part of a broader movement to both improve the quality of education for students and raise the profile of educators in the field, said Barbara Gault, the executive director of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a Washington, D.C. tank.

“It is a strategy for valuing early childhood teachers more, by thinking of them really as teachers, rather than how we often view them as low-paid unskilled labor,” Gault said.

Increased public funding for early childhood education would help to make the market work better, she added. “It’s a really big conundrum that a lot of people are trying to wrestle with right now,” Gault said. “In child care you need highly educated people, but the market isn’t really set up to pay the teachers what they deserve.”

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