Are Family Child Care Providers Teachers?

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Jacqueline Crocker always thought so. She has been a licensed family child care provider in the Kansas City area for over 20 years. She is accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care.

But Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores thinks differently.

In December Jacqueline noticed on Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores’ website that they offer a “Teacher Rewards” discount card worth 15% off almost every item in their stores.

To qualify for this  program a person must be a “state certified, credentialed or licensed teacher at any K-12 public, private or parochial school or higher education learning institution or an authorized home school teacher with current documentation or proof of membership in an official home school organization.” They also offer “Teacher Appreciation Days” on January 8th and 9th where teachers can get a 20% discount on every in-store purchase.

Jacqueline thought this was wrong. “Who died and made them education experts?” she told me. So she sent the store management an email asking them to include licensed family child care providers in their teacher promotions. After receiving no reply she posted her complaint on the company’s Facebook page:

“I am a preschool teacher and could really use a discount at Jo-Anns. We make very little money and don’t get much for supplies, any discount would help us out. Would you please consider extending the teacher appreciation discounts to preschool teachers as well?”

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft responded by repeating that their policy excluded family child care providers. Jacqueline replied: “When a retail giant like Jo-Ann’s tells us we do not have the ‘right credentials’ to buy the consumable items we need for our curriculum we are insulted.”

Jacqueline told me that she is particularly insulted that home school teachers are eligible for this program and not licensed child care providers.

Here’s another example of discrimination against preschool teachers: Since 2002 teachers of kindergarten through grade 12 have been eligible for a $250 Educator Expense deduction on their federal taxes for the purchase of books, supplies and other classroom materials. This law was recently extended through 2011.

These rules and laws do not recognize that preschool teachers (family child care providers and child care center workers) are teachers because our society does not fully understand how they help preschool children learn.

The way to overcome this ignorance is to be proactive in educating others about the positive impact preschool teachers make on the lives of young children. All the research supports this. Jacqueline is right. After contacting Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts she posted her experiences on the Child Care Roundtable discussion group hosted by Linkedin. There it caught me eye and I followed up by contacting her.

Jacqueline and I urge you to write a post on Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Facebook page urging them to change their policy and include licensed family child care providers and other preschool teachers in their Teacher’s Reward program.

What do you think of Jacqueline’s actions?

Update: Jacqueline has posted a sample letter providers can use in contacting Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts.

Tom Copeland –

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Categories: Advocacy

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5 replies

  1. This is a great article. Where can we take this to be seen by many more. Is there anything we can do legally

  2. There are others out there that think like JoAnns does – not only businesses but people as well.Many of us have years and years of training and see how successful we are and how rewarding it is when a child learns to read, when a parent comes to us and thanks us, when a kindergarten teacher tells you that she wishes there were more out there like you – would make her job easier. We ARE teachers.
    Thank you so much for this post and bringing this to attention.

  3. I agree that it would nice for places like Jo-Ann Fabrics to include licensed child care providers; however, businesses (and governments) need to draw the line SOMEWHERE. Technically, every parent is a teacher, but obviously they can’t include everybody.

  4. Bill – I agree that every parent is a teacher (good point!) and that a line needs to be drawn. I guess I think a line can be drawn to include those teachers who care for children other than their own (always for pay – unless you want to include home schooling). The point of the discount policy, as I understand it, is to give these teachers (primarily low-income) who must pay for supplies out of their own pocket a break.
    I don’t think including preschool teachers under this definition creates a further problem.

  5. Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts Stumbles in Social Media Dust Up

    Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts is the latest company to learn that social media is not always a social place. Chances are when they launched their Teacher’s Reward Program they didn’t anticipate that there would be any kind of blow back….

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