Teachers of small children should be appointed in each and every land…the world exists only by virtue of the learning of young children. — Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Sefer Madda, Talmud Torah, chapter 2
Family is absolutely central to Judaism, from the commandment to honor our parents to centuries of law and wisdom on raising our children to ancient guidelines for respecting our elders. No matter our family structure, family is where we celebrate, nurture, mourn, learn, and more. Jewish family values are the foundation of JUFJ’s belief that all children should have the resources they need to thrive.
Every child in DC, regardless of their race, family wealth, or zip code, should have access to high quality and affordable early childhood education provided by early childhood educators who are paid fairly. But right now, early childhood educators – mostly Black and Brown women – are underpaid and their jobs are unstable, while most families still can’t afford the childcare their children need. The pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis in early childcare. With lower enrollments and higher costs, and the already too few spots for children even further reduced, childcare providers have closed, and parents, especially mothers, have been forced to leave the labor force in astounding numbers, unable to work without the support of childcare for their children. We must address this emergency, as well as the ongoing crisis in equitable, affordable early childhood education.
Our Under 3 DC Working Group, as part of the Under 3 DC Coalition alongside DC Action, SPACEs in Action, DC Early Learning Collaborative, and more, works toward a city where all families — regardless of race, zip code, or economic status — have access to high-quality early childhood education and health supports, and childhood educators are paid fairly for the essential work that they do.
Even though DC has some of the highest costs for child care in our nation, many early childhood educators are not making a living wage. In 2021, JUFJ and our partners won a historic tax increase on high-income earners that will fund increased pay for early childhood educators. In 2022, we are working to ensure those funds get to the educators who deserve them, and to fully fund the Birth-to-Three For All DC Act that the DC Council passed in 2018.