Living Wages at Escuela Viva

amelia Community, Community Blog

Early Childhood Movement

For a long time it has been a goal of Escuela Viva to pay it’s teachers a Living/Family wage, similar to what public school teachers make. Without the help of public funds it has been a long, though determined, road. We have been diligent in increasing the standards by which we serve the children and families in our school community, ensuring the highest levels of professionalism, and in turn working to ensure that we compensate our staff in a way that is both just and equitable.

Why is a living/family wage important? 

living wage is defined as the wage that ensures a person can meet their basic needs to maintain a safe, decent standard of living within the community.The particular amount that must be earned per hour to meet these needs varies depending on location. In the 1990s the first living wagecampaigns were launched by community initiatives in the US addressing increasing poverty faced by workers and their families.

A related concept is that of a family wage – one sufficient to not only support oneself, but also to raise a family.

No business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933, Statement on National Industrial Recovery Act.[


Escuela Viva Wages 

Over the next 3 years, we will be increasing staff wages, with the goal of $15.00 an hour as our minimum wage.

To learn more about successful living wage campaigns visit:


Personnel Qualifications per QRIS

Early childhood experts at Western Oregon University’s Teaching Research Institute developed Oregon’s QRIS, Quality Rating and Improvement System, with leadership from the State of Oregon’s Early Learning Division. Oregon’s QRIS builds on long standing early learning initiatives and systems like licensing and the Oregon Registry and incorporates best practices from research done on QRIS nationally and statewide input from early learning professionals. Programs participating in the QRIS initiative must compile evidence that they meet specific standards. Programs will be given a 2, 3, 4 or 5 star rating based on evidence supplied. (See below for more information about the rating system.) At this time, Escuela Viva has a 5 star rating!

Part of this initiative is to ensure that QRIS programs hire teachers with the education necessary to provide quality educational experiences. It is understood that a quality program is only as good as it’s teaching staff.

1)  75% of teachers and head teachers have a step 9 on the Oregon Registry (see below for more information on the Oregon Registry) – equivalent to an Associates Degree in the field OR related degree. For more specifics see below:

Associate Degree in the field5 OR

Associate Degree out of the field5 w/ a minimum of 20 quarter College Course Credits OR

13 semester College Course Credits in at least 5 Core Knowledge Categories4

(1 quarter credit = 10 clock hours; 1 semester credit = 15 clock hours)

60 quarter College Course Credits 

(1 quarter credit = 10 clock hours)


40 semester College Course Credits 

(1 semester credit = 15 clock hours)

Credits must be in at least 5 Core Knowledge Categories4


600 hours of training w/ a minimum of 30 hours in each Core Knowledge Category4

With a minimum of 9 quarter College Course Credits or 6 semester College Course Credits

390 hours must link to Set Two or Set Three6 Standards or College Course Credits

What is the Oregon Registry?

Pathways for Professional Recognition in Childhood Care and Education is a statewide program that records and recognizes the professional development growth and achievement of people who work with and for children and family. Participation in the Oregon Registry is increasingly seen as an important tool for a professional development in our state.

All employees are required to have at least 24 training hours annually (professional development)

Program personnel are trained in ethics, professional responsibility and maintaining confidentiality.

Teacher’s aides are also required to have a certain level of training – step 7 or above for an aide ll (equivalent to a CDA:)

Director has achieved an OR Registry step 10 or above (equivalent to a Bachelor’s in Education) and has an OR Registry Director Credential


In order to reach our goal we will be raising tuition over the next three years to help us achieve the minimum wage of $15, as well as the living wages for all of our teaching team. Traditionally we have raised tuition 5% a year to cover cost of living raises, rises in rent, etc. Beginning 2015-2016 we will be raising tuition 8% annually over the next three years to help us achieve this very necessary goal. In turn, we will be raising salaries accordingly, by 1/3 until January 2018.

Our tuition has traditionally been lower than the rates found at schools offering a comparable level of education, quality care, food and nutrition awareness and environment. We have found that these three years of increases will put our tuition rates at a level comparable to similar preschools in the Portland area.

Paying a living wage is an important practice for the sustainability of quality staff in any industry, early childhood is no exception. 

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