Raglan George, executive director of DC 1707, which represents Childcare Local 205/95, can be seen every Monday outside of City Hall, a one-man picket. Supporters frequently join him.
George is protesting Mayor Bloomberg’s recently implemented EarlyLearn early childhood education program. This “untested program,” George asserts, puts in jeopardy long-running NYC subsidized day care and Head Start programs that did not receive EarlyLearn awards and do not have funds to continue. “He’s taken the childcare program and tried to fix it when it wasn’t broken.”
“EarlyLearning does not work; the mayor should take a look at it,” George says. “Working parents, who feed the economy, need affordable daycare.”
Many of these centers are shuttering because they did not receive EarlyLearn awards or they do not have the funds to remain open. George believes that the direction the Mayor is going will destroy working families.
According to DC 1707, prior to Hurricane Sandy, EarlyLearn has caused more than 60 day care and Head Start centers to close, therefore contributing to the elimination of almost 1,000 jobs and thousands of children’s slots, forcing working families in all five boroughs to scramble for affordable and safe child care.
Some centers, cutting back on hours, are opening later and closing earlier, putting further strains on parents to find affordable day care.
George is also trying to draw attention to the needs of the poor and working parents living in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy who are in such desperate need for safe, affordable, quality childcare.
Following the superstorm, 15 more day care and family Head Start centers in Coney Island and the Rockaways have completely closed due to water and structural damage. Some centers may not open in the future due to the severity of damage from their basic equipment to electrical, heat and plumbing. Members of DC 1707 report that Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) is not moving quickly enough to address this problem.
On Monday, Nov. 26, Queens Councilmember Karen Koslowitz joined George, recognizing the bad economic times and how communities were devastated by Hurricane Sandy and in need of support.
The bottom line for George is that the mayor and ACS should take a second look at the EarlyLearn program and rescind it until they fix it and not destroy the existing Day Care structure.
Raglan George protests at City Hall, every Monday from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.