Testimony of Dominique Spencer, Director of Education Services at Jubilee Jumpstart
My name is Dominique Spencer and I am the Director of Education Services at Jubilee JumpStart. JJS is a non-profit, NAEYC accredited center, that provides dual-language with an emphasis on Spanish language, to children 6 weeks to five years old. We are located in Ward one, in the Adams Morgan neighborhood.
As a member of Under 3 DC, a coalition that is committed to securing a strong start forevery infant and toddler in DC, my testimony today will focus on the importance of your vote to increase early childhood educator compensation. This year’s supplement will go a long way toward making life a little easier for the teaching staff at Jubilee JumpStart.
On behalf of our teachers, I thank you. As a director in the early childhood community, I am acutely aware of the impact teachers have on high-quality education. Teachers are pivotal. Every day for at least 8 hours, they must show up as their best and give so much to our youngest learners. They set the tone for their classrooms. This supplement for teachers will take away some of the immediate burdens teachers have. Imagine a teacher being able to quit one of two part-time jobs, or paying a debt to a previously attended college so they can return to school for a degree, or having money to secure housing in a safer neighborhood, or figuring out how to shorten their daily commute and ride Metro instead of taking several buses because Metro costs too much. All of these burdens are what my teachers face. This is how the supplement will help them. This is why OSSE needs to push and get these supplements out to teachers as soon as possible. When teachers can arrive at work feeling less stressed and able to focus on the classroom, everybody grows.
As an additional piece, the continued equity and support of raising salaries make this field more respected and becomes a viable career choice for some of the best and brightest, which our children deserve and have a human right to. We are well aware that early childhood education holds up this economy. Without us, people can not work and the economy would stall. This equity in compensation helps to create a pipeline of teachers. We need to keep attracting college students to this field. We need to be able to retain the high-quality teachers we have. If you want to change this city, continue to focus on strengthening teachers in every way. I thank you for your time and support for a strong, high quality, effective, and connected early childhood system in the District.