How I Teach: This preschool teacher wants equal pay for equal work

Welcome to the June edition of How I Teach!

Tara Entrieri is a New York City preschool teacher who loves her job. She has a bachelor’s degree in child psychology and a master’s degree in early childhood education. She also has $200,000 in student loans to pay back.

The magnitude of her debt recently forced Entrieri to make a tough choice.

“I had to decide between paying off that debt or paying for health insurance,” she said. “I chose living without coverage in a job where I’m surrounded by children who are still learning to cover their mouth when they sneeze.”

Read on to learn why Entrieri wishes she were part of New York City’s largest teachers union and why she believes community-based preschool teachers deserve the same pay and benefits as those who work in public schools.

As always, if you have feedback about this newsletter, please share by responding to this email.

— Ann

In their own words.

TARA ENTRIERI, preschool, New York City
The day a little boy who struggled to control his emotions walked to her classroom’s “cozy corner” to calm himself down after feeling frustrated in circle time almost brought Entrieri to tears.

YESENIA PEREZ-MERCADO, dual-language immersion, Fort Collins, Colorado
A story about a moose accused of stealing a pie gave Perez-Mercado the idea for a social studies unit featuring the nation’s first Latina Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor, and the pioneering labor activist Dolores Huerta.

JOEL HOCKIN, middle school science, Detroit
Using a procedure he says is more common in college science laboratories than in middle school classrooms, Hockin and his students removed genetic matter from a glowing jellyfish and inserted it into bacteria.

TAMARA LEVERIDGE, middle school English, Newark
Leveridge, who is Newark’s 2019 Teacher of the Year, spearheaded a “living wax museum” project where her sixth-graders dress up as historical figures from their respective cultures.

Other stories you might have missed.

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RESERVATIONS A Memphis teachers outlines his concerns about new voucher-like program that Tennessee’s governor recently signed into law. More

HARD CHOICES Critics of charter schools often argue that they siphon away funding from traditional public schools. Here’s a closer look at the debate. More

NOT SO FAST The teachers union in a long-struggling district north of Denver filed a lawsuit to prevent a for-profit company from taking over most day-to-day operations of the district. More

LITERACY LAW In Michigan’s largest district, 20% of third graders would have been held back last year had Michigan’s tough literacy law been in place — offering a glimpse of what may happen next year. More

EASING THE SHORTAGE Illinois teachers may no longer be required to take a basic skills test in math and reading if Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs an omnibus education bill that includes the provision. More

UNSEEN AND UNACKNOWLEDGED A New York City high school student talks about why she’s glad the city’s teachers are getting anti-bias training. More


“The Marshall Memo” a weekly education newsletter curated by former educator Kim Marshall. Recommended by Jackie Dean, a literacy specialist at Freedom Preparatory Charter Schools.  “It curates a diverse set of readings and research that all educators should stay abreast of. It’s also sent in an accessible format that makes it easy to read over quickly before deciding what articles to pursue fully.”

Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing” by Ralph Fletcher. Recommended by Rachel Weidenhammer, fifth grade teacher in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania. This book “left me feeling excited and hopeful about the writing my students will do inside and outside of my classroom in the coming year.”

Do you have a reading recommendation for other educators? Let me know what it is and why you liked it, and I may feature your suggestion in a future newsletter. Just send me an email at aschimke@chalkbeat.org or fill out this short form.