Legislation Focuses On Education Issues

March 22, 2019

By Linda Conner Lambeck

Jacqueline Valle’s love for early childhood education began in the basement of Good Shepherd Christian Church on Hancock Avenue in Bridgeport.

Something about working with small children in a Bible study class gave the city teen a warm feeling.

By the time she was 17, Valle was working part time in the infant and toddler classroom at Cambridge Manor in Fairfield, and set aside thoughts of a career in business administration to pursue what she calls a passion.

She didn’t realize it was a passion that comes with at a hefty price.

“As an early childhood professional and single parent of two boys, I have struggled to make ends meet at times,” said Valle. It was a career that expected her to get an early childhood degree in exchange for minimum-wage pay.

Now head teacher at Honey Bear Learning Center in Stratford, Valle makes more, but not what she is worth, according to her boss. And she oversees a staff of 10 teachers, many of whom are in the same boat she was in 23 years ago. Between low salaries and what it costs to stay credentialed., Valle and others say they’d make more working at Costco.

“Everyone understands it is an issue that needs to be dealt with,” said state Rep. Robert Sanchez, D-New Britain. “We want everyone to get a trade or a college degree. We want people to work, but we are not doing that in this state. We need to be more proactive. It is time for Connecticut to wake up and do this.”

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