50-year veteran of childcare industry advocates for reforms | Eastern North Carolina Now | “I’ve got 15 slots open right now and I can’t fill them. Nobody is walking in the door, nobody is calling. We don’t have the teachers,” said Myers.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is David Bass.

    As the childcare industry across the country faces a continued labor-force pinch due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one 50-year veteran of the industry here in North Carolina is pushing for a key reform she says would go a long way to solve the problem.

    Mary Myers is the owner and operator of two childcare centers in Davidson County. She has been in the business since 1970. In February, Myers filed a petition with the N.C. Child Care Commission to allow experience in the industry to stand in for a degree requirement.

    Under state law, pre-kindergarten providers must employ a director who holds a four-year early childhood education degree. Unless a program has an administrator in place with the required credentials, the center can't qualify has a North Carolina pre-K site.

    But switching that requirement to a degree or the requisite number of years of experience would go a long way toward easing the labor market problems in the childcare industry, Myers said.

    "Right now, me and a lot of others out there are hurting," said Myers in a phone interview with Carolina Journal. "I've got 15 slots open right now and I can't fill them. Nobody is walking in the door, nobody is calling. We don't have the teachers."

    The change included in Myers' petition would only apply to "established" childcare sites that have been in business for more than four years.

    The North Carolina Childcare Commission voted May 2 to deny the request from Myers, and solidified that vote on June 6 by voting on a written response denying the request.

    "By holding higher qualifications, NC Pre-K site administrators are better informed and better educated in early childhood which, in turn, benefits the children and families of North Carolina making it more likely that their overall needs will be met as they prepare for Kindergarten," the denial letter stated.

    In addition to the degree requirements, the state also evaluates pre-K centers on a five-star rating scale. In order to participate in the state's pre-K program, a center must maintain at least a four-star rating on the scale. Moreover, in order to serve families eligible for the Subsidized Childcare Assistance program, the business must maintain at least a three-star rating.

    But the challenge is that 50% of the rating is dependent on the number of staff members with degrees. Myers pointed out that a childcare center can't gain a four- or five-star rating without having a high number of staff members with a minimum four-year degree in early childhood education.

    "I'd rather have a teacher who's got the experience and know-how than one that's got all the education in the world," Myers said.

    A recent analysis by Wells Fargo economists concluded that nearly half-a-million families in the United States are directly impacted by the childcare shortage. The authors noted that the shortage is having a ripple effect on other industries, as parents who would otherwise be working are forced out of the labor market due to the lack of childcare options.

    "I don't want to retire. I don't want to quit doing what I'm doing," Myers said. "I love what I'm doing, but if they don't give us leeway in there, what are we going to do?"
Go Back


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) increased in all but two of North Carolina’s counties in June, according to the latest release from the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
The head of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division said Thursday that the DOJ has not prosecuted anyone for demonstrating outside of Supreme Court Justices’ residences, but that an order focusing the department on parents at school board meetings remains intact.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed President Joe Biden on Monday over a report published last week that said that Biden was considering paying illegal aliens who were separated at the border from their families under the previous administration up to $450,000 each.
President Joe Biden claimed that Thursday’s economic data showing the U.S. has entered a recession is “consistent with the transition to a stable, steady growth and lower inflation.”
Chaos broke out at the wedding of Addison and Nate Smith last Friday when local LDS hooligans snuck caffeinated black tea from a flask into the punch.
President Joe Biden suggested that the U.S. economy was not in a recession Thursday despite new economic data showing that the U.S. has entered a recession.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid went into meltdown mode on Tuesday night as Republicans scored upset victories in statewide elections in Virginia, at one point claiming that parents being concerned about “education” was really just “code for ‘white parents don’t like the idea of teaching about race.’”


D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said Thursday that she has asked for the National Guard to be deployed to help handle the influx of illegal immigrants coming into the nation’s capital.
. . . while ignoring that middle class can't afford gas
North Carolina has one of the best rainy-day funds in the country, according to a Pewstrust.org article.
“Jeopardy!” executive producer Michael Davies announced on Wednesday that the popular game show will have two hosts indefinitely.
Last week, the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees passed two important resolutions on campus viewpoint neutrality. With the addition of these protections, UNC’s free-speech policies are among the best in the nation.
Scott Jennings, a political analyst at CNN, said following the Republican’s surprising victories in statewide elections on Tuesday that the formula used by governor-elect Glenn Youngkin can be used by Republicans nationwide to win.
The 2022 Batgirl movie is canceled after $70 million dollars in Batmobiles were destroyed backing out of the Batcave.


Back to Top