Probable Reasons Why Mayor Bloomberg Attacks Child Care
March 12, 2012
By Raglan George, Jr. District Council 1707 Executive Director AFSCME International Vice President
In Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 Preliminary Budget he wants to eliminate nearly 16,000 preschoolers from child care. Coupled with his ill-conceived Early Learn Plan, the Mayor wants to eliminate still another 10,000 children from care.
For ten years his administration has decimated child care with nearly 80 centers being shuttered; kindergarten classes taken from subsidized child care centers and the distinguished Out-of-School-Time Program snatched from unionized day care centers and shifted to the Department of Youth and Community Development where it is dying a slow and painful death. His budget will eliminate 25,000 school age children from after school programs, most of whom will become latch-key kids in dangerous and demanding neighborhoods.
The real reasons why the Bloomberg Administration has sought to destroy child care are many, with the most unreasonable being:
1. Subsidized child care is anathema to his beliefs that all child care should be run by corporations for profit at market prices. In New York, this will mean many poor and working parents will turn to questionable care and family members ill-trained to educate and socialize pre-schoolers and some will use questionable judgment for care.
2. While subsidized day care and Head Start helps build neighborhoods with parents working and spending money in neighborhood businesses and keeping them off the public dole, Bloomberg’s vision for New York begins and ends with gentrification and high-priced condominiums replacing well-worn affordable neighborhoods. He has little interest in affordable housing, passing lip service and building high line parks on the Manhattan’s West Side notching that neighborhood’s real estate value by an estimated $1 billion.
3. The children of the poor and working families have a minor role in his vision of New York City’s future. Slashing public schools and demanding higher classroom sizes in neighborhoods where invaluable resources are needed have been his mantra from school heads from Klein to Black and now Walcott.
4. No respect for public school teachers or the teachers and staff in subsidized day care and Head Start who hold the same educational credentials and certificates.
5. The Administration has a severe abhorrence for unionized day care and Head Start employees who are predominantly women and many are heads of households and of color. The Administration has not negotiated a fair and equitable contract with day care employees for nearly six years.
Why the Mayor dislikes child care may be many, but the effect is the harm to our children’s future, the instability of the city’s poor and working families and a Republican Party dislike for unions, all from the self-proclaimed “Education Mayor.”