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"Congress Must Provide Funds for Degrees," says Local 1475

In Washington, D.C. Local 1475 President calls for Asistance with degree requirement for Head Start Teachers. Going to college to complete a BA can be expensive. It can also be difficult to do when we work full-time. In May, at the AFT’s Worthy Wage Day press briefing (in which our national union spotlighted how early childhood educators are underpaid), Local 1475 president Arleen Rivera used her own experience to highlight the dilemma many Head Start teachers face when trying to obtain their BAs. Read what Rivera had to say:

"Going to college to complete a BA can be expensive. It can also be difficult to do when we work full-time. In May, at the AFT’s Worthy Wage Day press briefing (in which our national union spotlighted how early childhood educators are underpaid), Local 1475 president Arleen Rivera used her own experience to highlight the dilemma many Head Start teachers face when trying to obtain their BAs. Here is what Rivera had to say:

“I am proud to say that I have been a Head Start teacher for the last 25 years. I am also a single parent of 2 boys and I am helping to raise my niece who is now 7… Eight years ago I set upon my personal journey to attain my Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. I took this challenge because of the mandates set forth by the Head Start Reauthorization and my own goal of achieving a higher education.  Like many professionals who attain a higher education, there was also the hope of making a decent living with a worthy wage once that education is achieved.  After all isn't that what the American Dream is all about?
 
“Though I can proudly say to you that I graduated from the University of La Verne with my BA in Early Childhood Education, I cannot say that I have accomplished a wage worthy from it.  I increased my education – not my wages. And today, though I graduated five years ago, I am still struggling to pay off $18,000 of student loans.  Many of the professionals in Head Start who take the challenge of getting their B.A.'s are now faced with the same predicament of not receiving a worthy wage and not being able to pay off the debt that they have accrued in the process. That is one of the key reasons that I am involved in the Union, so that the professionals in Head Start can have a voice to demand what is fair, and to organize to get it.  We need to organize ourselves to demand that Congress fully funds Head Start, and to ensure that Head Start can pay decent wages to the professionals who work with children and families every day.”