BlogUnder 3 DC letter to OSSE: Pay Equity Fund Formula

June 20, 2023

June 20, 2023

Dear Superintendent Grant,

We, the Under 3 DC Coalition, are writing to express our concern about the design of base payments in the Pay Equity Fund Child Development Facility Funding Formula, which fails to reach pay parity for early childhood educators with DCPS teachers. We urge OSSE to expeditiously correct the formula to include pay for educator experience before the launch of the program’s second phase in October 2023 and to publish an estimate of the cost to do so this calendar year.

For too long, a shameful legacy of racist and sexist devaluation and under-compensation of the majority Black and brown woman early childhood educator workforce has persisted, harming their ability to thrive and afford housing, health care, and other essentials. It also hurts children and families in the District, limiting their ability to access high-quality early education and care due to the workforce shortage. The Birth-to-Three law moved to end this status quo by mandating publicly-funded pay parity for early educators with DCPS teachers with the same role, credentials, and experience. The Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force reinforced this goal with a proposed funding formula that includes experience.

OSSE’s funding formula fails to honor that mandate, and is positioned to continue to underpay early childhood educators by an average of $3,900-$6,700 compared to their peers. Your explanation of this omission, at the Early Childhood Educator Equitable Compensation Roundtable on June 13, 2023, as a cost-saving measure and as beyond the minimum required by the law, reinforces the perception that their experience is less valuable than their DCPS peers.

At the Roundtable, you acknowledged the need to revisit OSSE’s omission of experience in the funding formula for child development facilities. We ask that OSSE work to incorporate pay for educator experience into the funding formula before the launch of the program’s second phase in October so educators receive full payment for the value they bring to the field, children’s lives, and the District’s economy. We also ask that OSSE complete and publish an assessment of the cost to incorporate experience into the funding formula before January 2024 so that the Mayor and the DC Council can prepare to include these funds in the FY 2025 budget. 

In your testimony, you celebrated the Pay Equity Fund as “the first in the nation to create pay parity between early educators in licensed child care facilities and public school teachers.” We hope to join you in celebration when OSSE meets that goal by incorporating experience into the formula. Failing to do so disincentives longevity in the field, robbing children of access to educators with valuable years of experience that make them better educators and caregivers. In the meantime, we offer ourselves – a community of early childhood educators, child development facility administrators, child care associations, advocates, and more – as thought partners in correcting this gap in the Pay Equity Fund.



Advocates for Justice and Education

Bread for the City

Bright Beginnings


Community Educational Research Group

Children’s Law Center

Children’s National Hospital

Common Future

Community of Hope

DC Action

DC American Academy of Pediatrics

DC Appleseed

DC Association for the Education of Young Children

DC Early Learning Collaborative

DC Family Child Care Association

DC Fiscal Policy Institute

DC for Democracy

DC Head Start Association

DC Hunger Solutions

DC Jobs With Justice

DC Directors Exchange 

Early Childhood Innovation Network

Easterseals DC MD VA

Educare DC


Fair Budget Coalition

Greater DC Diaper Bank

Early Childhood Innovation Network

Jews United for Justice

Jubilee Housing

Kiddie University

Lia’s Rainbow

Low Income Investment Fund 

Martha’s Table

Mary’s Center

St. Mary’s Center

MD/DC Hands & Voices

MLOV (Many Languages One Voice)


Mothers Outreach Network

Multicultural Spanish Speaking Providers Association , MSSPA

National Children’s Center

National Women’s Law Center

NOVA Birth Partners

Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office

Parents Amplifying Voices in Education (PAVE)

Point of Care Childcare

Ramsey Decision Theoretics & Civic Participation

SPACEs in Action

United Planning Organization

Washington Area Women’s Foundation

Petit Scholars

Petit Scholars Rhode Island

Safe Shores

Educare DC

Under 3 DC

Under 3 DC, a broad based coalition in the District of Columbia, harnesses the voices and power of parents with young children, early educators, advocates, and health professionals to create transformative social change. The Coalition’s efforts center on the people experiencing racial and economic injustice every day. It shines a spotlight on the need for more public investments to support families with infants and toddlers. Together, we can set the city on a path to creating and sustaining a high quality, equitable early childhood system.

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