Protect Early Childhood Education and After School Programs
June 24, 2012
A LaborPress Editorial By Neal Tepel, Publisher
The mayor’s proposed budget could force thousands of low-income families to go without quality city-subsidized early care and educational services for their children. Cuts to child care and after-school programs will result in 47,000 youngsters losing educational services. Not only is the mayor proposing to cut childcare slots for low-income children, his EarlyLearn initiative takes early childhood services out of the hands of local community groups.
City day care centers have been providing quality, safe, early education for decades. The Mayors plan will dismantle a day care system that has been a model for the nation since the 60’s. Large private educational companies, many from out of town, are being selected by the Mayor to replace community day care centers that have been anchors in city neighborhoods for many years. Under the Mayors plan dozens of center-based care programs will close and family child-care networks will decrease from 54 to 25.
The number of children from low-income working families who attend city-subsidized child care has dropped from 51,712 to 42,215 since 2008. The number of children attending after-school programs has declined from 85,513 in 2009 to 52,000 in 2012 — a drop of almost 40 percent. Over the last decade, child poverty has increased by 18 percent according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and one in four children in New York live beneath the poverty line. Research consistently support the critical importance of early childhood education in moving families off welfare and out of poverty.
City-subsidized child care prepares young children for school and enables their parents to hold jobs. Thousands of parents at risk of losing child care and after-school programs will quit their jobs or leave their children home alone if they lose access to these essential programs.
With more than 47,000 children at risk of losing child care and after-school services, the impact on New York City’s families and the economy would be devastating.