While I find it deeply troubling that such a group is needed, I was proud to represent TASC at yesterday’s launch of the Campaign for Children, a partnership of The Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care and the NYC Youth Alliance. As the mother of a 2-, 7- and 10-year old, I know all too well that working families need both quality early childhood and after-school programs, so it’s great to see these two advocate communities collaborating on behalf of children and families here in New York City.
The education policies of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration have been grounded in the notion that families deserve choices (remember: “a system of great schools, not a great school system”), but the cuts that have been made compounded by those that are being contemplated in the budget are instead forcing NYC parents to make awful decisions: Which of my kids should get enrichment? Can my 5th grader stay home unsupervised? Should I have my child wait in the closet at my factory job or should I just quit my job? These are not the choices we were promised.
I realize politicians are also making tough choices. The city’s budget has to be balanced, but not on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, just because they’re not old enough to vote. The sad irony is that quality of programs has improved under Mayor Bloomberg, but if entire communities are denied access to these services by virtue of these cuts, what’s the point? These are the very programs that are critical to setting Black and Latino males, who the Mayor rightly recognized as being at great risk, on the right path. As my colleague Rich Buery of The Children’s Aid Society so eloquently put it this afternoon, “the vision is not matched by resources.”
Today was just the beginning, but I trust this new coalition will be effective in helping our elected officials focus on what’s really important in helping our children and our city reach their full potential. Join me in following and tweeting about the campaign using the hashtag #campaign4children.