By: Summer Brennan
Fifty years ago, teachers in New York City’s public schools didn’t have the kind of support and respect they have today. Before the creation of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) in March 1960, the system’s structure and support were haphazard at best, and concepts such as class-size limits and career ladders were only pipe dreams. A patchwork of more than 100 different and often competing organizations were available for educators to join, but there was no one true voice and advocate for students and teachers.
That all changed, thanks to the grit and determination of a small group of visionaries who believed that educators and their students were being shortchanged and did something about it. Together, they created the UFT.
District Council 1707 leaders and their members, daycare workers, and concerned parents met on the steps of City Hall Wednesday, March 3, to protest the decision by the Administration for Children’s Services to close 16 city-funded day care centers. Of the centers set to close, eleven are in Brooklyn, three are in Queens, and two are in Manhattan.
“We will continue to fight,” said Councilwoman Annabel Parma. “We are passionate about making sure the day cares stay open. They allow families to work, and to stay in communities. “She said the centers were a “safe haven” for children, and must not be closed under any circumstances.
DC 1707 Executive Director Raglan George Jr. urged the City Council to keep the centers open for the children’s’ sake, as well as the parent’s. “Families need these centers to go to work. Closing them will put people out of work,” he said. “The next step will be to close the Head Start programs.”
Make Sure All 5-Year-Olds in Our ACS Child Care Centers Get the Kindergarten Education and Child Care They Need
The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) has ordered its day care centers to stop serving children that are turning five this year. Displacing these young children from the ACS centers has resulted in thousands of additional 5-year-olds being forced to attend already overcrowded public school with no assurance that they can get the child care they need for their out-of-school hours.
It is hard to understand why New York City is persisting in pushing its 3,300 5-year-olds into over-crowded public schools this year when doing so would force the Department of Education to increase the class size of its kindergartens, default on its State-funded requirement to reduce class size, spend thousands of dollars on bussing young children to schools out of their neighborhood, and create enormous hardship for their hard-working parents.
Many parents have had difficulty securing a kindergarten placement for their children. In addition, well over half of those that have found a kindergarten space in an accessible public school find themselves still in a bind because there is no Year-Round Out-of- School-Time child care program serving that school. This was not an issue for those that attended a day care center since that program provides educational services from 8 AM to 6PM.