Standing Up for Subsidized Early Childhood Education

Thomas K. Duane

May 11, 2012

On May 10, I joined day care and Head Start employees from District Council 1707, parents and other elected officials at a City Hall press conference denouncing Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed cuts to early childhood education as well his ill-conceived formula for allocating dwindling resources. 

As The New York Times noted in its May 4, 2012 editorial entitled, “New York’s Children Shouldn’t Pay the Price,” the mayor’s Fiscal Year 2013 Executive Budget and other changes will result in losses of approximately $150 million to city day-care and after-school programs.  The number of slots in such programs will dip to about 53,000 from 94,000 in 2012 and 137,000 in 2009.  This is unacceptable. 

At the same time, the City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) recently established a child care and early education initiative called “Early Learn NYC” which allocates slots in subsidized early childhood education based on concentrations—as opposed to net numbers—of eligible children per zip code.  This flawed methodology willfully ignores the pockets of poverty that we all know exist amidst some of the most affluent zip codes in our City.

To close the education achievement gap and increase college and career readiness, and to compete in the global economy, our City must offer early childhood education to all families who cannot afford to pay for it on their own.   I continue to stand with the children and families around the City who depend on publicly-funded early childhood education, and with the devoted employees who make that education possible, in calling on Mayor Bloomberg to restore funding for these programs and revise the misguided Early Learn funding formula.