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  • 22 Oct 2021 by Tricia Ginis

    Looking for a new Director of Early Childhood Education? Hiring can be a difficult undertaking. Did you know that Unconscious Bias is a part of the hiring process whether we like it or not. It is hard for people to put aside these influences. The judgements we make on any number of things about the candidates can be the deciding factor on whether a candidate is considered for the position or not. How can the search committee leave these biases out of the hiring process? Each committee member needs to understand what their unconscious biases are.

    Here are some things that can affect perception of a candidate:

    • Affinity bias- gravitate to those who are most like ourselves.
    • First Impression Bias- when the candidate walks in the door- look great, sound great, must be great
    • Confirmation Bias- influences us to unconsciously seek information only the information that supports our early stage findings or assumptions-encourages us to under weigh, undervalue or ignore information that might conflict our early stage findings- stop listening deeply, stop probing for solid evidence or understanding, even skip questions
    • Resume- Any part of your resume can be a deciding factor (college, addresses- mailing address (undesirable location or distance), email address (crazymom@gmail.com)
    • Social Media postings-Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.
    • Appearance: Height, weight, ‘attractiveness’, clothing

     

    Tips and Techniques to minimize unconscious bias

    • Watch Unconscious Bias: Stereotypical Hiring Practices with Gail Tolstoi-Miller Tedx Talks will help the search committee begin thinking about their own unconscious bias and open the conversation about how the committee can work to avoid the biases affecting the candidate selection process.
    • Be honest with ourselves to identify our own biases, preferences, and stereotypes
    • Visit https://wrj.org/implicit-bias to learn more about implicit bias and take the test to see what your implicit biases are.

    Need help with a search for a new Director of Early Childhood Education? Feel free to reach out.

    Tricia Ginis
    Executive Director
    tginis@urj.org

  • 22 Oct 2021 by Fern Katz

    We are in a crisis.

    Now, more than ever, the outlook is bleak for early childhood education and educators. There is a great need and a great shortage of educators in the field of early childhood education, including Jewish education. Without enough teachers there are not enough programs. This was an issue before the pandemic, and now it is much worse and impacting more and more families with young children.

    On September 19 of this year, the Washington Post published an article by Heather Long with the heading ‘The pay is absolute crap’: Child-care workers are quitting rapidly, a red flag for the economy. The article provides both statistics and stories from parents and teachers illustrating the crisis that we are all in.

    The statistics are staggering:

    • Day Care workers earn in the bottom 2 percent of all professions
    • The child-care industry if down 126,700 workers
    • The hiring situation in early childhood is worse than in restaurants
    • More than 10,000 workers have left the industry since June, 2021
    • More than a third of providers are thinking about quitting or closing their business “as a sense of hopelessness permeates the industry”

    In the Early Childhood Jewish world, we see this every day. And we are worried. Just a few of the comments I have heard recently include:

    • I can’t afford to send my own child to the program I work for
    • I can make more money as a cashier at Walgreens
    • I worked throughout the pandemic and received only a cost-of-living increase. It is still barely minimum wage
    • We live in a country that values money – it is clear how little they value educators
    • I love teaching and I love children, but I am so tired of being treated like this – little money, no benefits, little respect

    If you are reading this, you are probably not surprised. You probably have heard this before. You are likely a person who cares about young children and the field of early childhood Jewish education, who sees the value in the work of ECE-RJ, and who wants to support educators and education.

    Keep reading.

    We have an opportunity.

    Now, more than ever, is the time for our collective voice to be heard.

    The United States Congress is considering a bill that would support early childhood education and make quality early childhood education a right, not just a privilege, for all three-and four-year olds. The proposed legislation would reduce costs for families and offer wages for early childhood teachers that are comparable to educators in local public schools. Federal funding can work for Jewish and other religious schools in a mixed delivery system. While accepting federal funding would mean removing religious aspects from the curriculum; ethics, values, and honoring the cultures of all children can remain. Religious aspects of the program can take place before or after the funded program as enrichment class or family programming. This may be a challenge and a change for some

    • Sara Losch Thank you for this. I"ll be retiring after 38 years in the field and I worry that I can't leave my school staffed and prepared. As my final push at our synagogue (where i"ve been the director for... see more Thank you for this. I"ll be retiring after 38 years in the field and I worry that I can't leave my school staffed and prepared. As my final push at our synagogue (where i"ve been the director for 33 years), I am pushing for large increases for our preschool staff. By the way, for context: I run the religious school too where our staff earn $65-70 per hour with no training. That keeps me up at night.
      1 month ago