Testimony of Jamar Day, Community Organizer, before the Committee of the Whole

DC Action Public Testimony Logo
March 2, 2022
Person Testifying: Jamar Day
Title: Community Organizer, DC Action
Testimony Heard By: Committee of the Whole

Good Morning Chairman Mendelson members of the Committee of the Whole and my fellow advocates. I am Jamar Day, Community Organizer for the Under 3 DC Coalition, working for full implementation of the Birth-to-Three law.

Since the law was passed in 2018, we have come before you with stats and research on why we need the Birth-to-Three law to be fully funded and implemented. You all have listened and become champions for early learning. Thank you, all, for standing on the right side of history.

While we have accomplished some big goals in so little time, there is much more work to do. My testimony today is focused on why we need the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to rapidly develop and release a timeline that describes how they plan to implement the early educator pay supplements this year. This year’s pay supplement will go a long way toward making life a little easier for the District’s early education teachers. This past Saturday, Under 3 DC hosted a community meeting to inform teachers about the Early Educator Task Force’s recommendations and what they should expect in the coming year. We shared the Task Force’s Frequently Asked Questions about the pay supplements. What we discovered is that many teachers are unsure of what their licensing designation is, and are therefore not sure if they will be eligible for the pay stipend or for what amount..

We recommend OSSE quickly create and disseminate the next steps and a timeline for implementation of the agency’s plan for this year’s pay supplement. Failure to do so, sooner rather than later, will further confuse teachers and lead to a lack of trust. OSSE should be in the process of laying out a transparent plan of action to ensure every teacher eligible receives the pay supplement they have earned.

Many of these educators have their own families. And, like other DC families, they continue to navigate uncertain times as we work to recover from the pandemic. They made sacrifices at the height of the pandemic that enabled other parents to work. We must keep our commitment to them while we improve our system of care and education to ensure our most vulnerable children are not left behind before they start Pre-K.