Release: Hundreds of Kids Invade City Hall Ahead of Executive Budget
For Immediate Release: Monday, April 25th, 2016
Contact: Morgan Rubin, 646-517-1813, Campaign4ChildrenPress@gmail.com
Hundreds of Kids Invade City Hall Ahead of Executive Budget
Crowd Delivers 10,000 Postcards to the Mayor, Saying: Prioritize Children in the Budget!
At Stake: Cuts to 31,000 Summer Program Slots, Fair Salaries for Child Care Workforce
New York, NY— Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and other local elected officials joined hundreds of children from across the city to take over City Hall on Monday, and call on the City to include funding for 31,000 summer programs and fair salaries for early childhood educators in the Executive Budget this year. 10,000 postcards were delivered to the Mayor, urging him to prioritize NYC’s children in the budget.
The planned cuts would eliminate slots for 31,000 middle school students citywide, despite the fact that these programs help to close the achievement gap, prevent summer learning loss, and keep children safe while parents work—especially for children in low-income communities. Since summer programs start just after the budget is adopted, it will be impossible to put engaging, high-quality summer programs back in place if funding for these programs is not re-committed prior to the Budget being resolved.
The educators and advocates also encouraged the administration to ensure that all qualified child care workers receive compensation and benefits comparable to their DOE counterparts, creating a unified, high-quality system for early childhood education that serves the all the City’s children and families equally. Teachers like Diana Marte, a Head Teacher for Children’s Corner in East New York, spoke about their dedication to educating children from low-income communities – despite struggling with poverty themselves.
“I work 40 hours a week to make sure these kids have everything that they need, but it’s a struggle for me to take care of my own self,” said Diana.
“Time is running out to make certain that the needs of our children are met,” said Gregory Brender of Campaign for Children. “Summer programs are essential in providing children a safe place to go in the summer, and salary parity is essential in ensuring that our early childcare workers are not living in poverty. We urge the Administration to include these issues in the Executive Budget, and to continue their commitment to NYC’s children by making sure youth and educators have the resources they need to thrive.”
“We must invest in our children today so they can succeed tomorrow,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “We need to continue funding summer educational programs and ensure that every teacher receives equal pay for equal work. Summer educational programs are vital – helping to close the achievement gap, preventing loss of learning, and keeping students off the streets. Current pay disparity creates systemic inequality that leaves New York’s poorest preschoolers with the lowest paid teachers and prevents our teachers from affording basic life necessities. We must do everything we can to support our children, which means prioritizing their success in our budget.”
“In the last two years, the de Blasio administration has achieved the remarkable feat of implementing universal pre-K to tens of thousands of our children,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “However, it is imperative that the city commits to pay all early educators equally for the essential work they are doing to nurture our children and help them grow into our city’s future leaders.”
ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN:
The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses NY, Good Shepherd Services, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined.