‘Don’t let the state’s fiscal crisis become our kids’ education crisis’

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationLast Friday, several organizations, such as Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, Chicago Commons, Christopher House, El Hogar del Niño, Erie Neighborhood House, Gads Hill Center, Latino Policy Forum, and Onward Neighborhood House partnered together to address the crisis in early childhood education.

During a community hearing held at Benito Juarez Community Academy’s Arts Auditorium, these organizations collectively advocated for critical funding of Preschool for All (PFA) and Child Care Assistance Programs (CCAP), which was attended by over one hundred community residents, including Representative Will Davis, Representative Lisa Hernandez, and Representative Cynthia Soto, and key community leaders.

PFA was slashed by $25 million in FY13 and reductions in child care funding have caused the state to increase parent co-payments, making quality child care unaffordable for working families throughout the state.
“As a single parent, these programs are critical to me,” said Martha Ramirez, parent leader in the Academy of Parents in Leadership at Gamaliel of Metro Chicago. Cuts mean that families lose the stable child care arrangements needed so that they can keep working, and children lose their quality early childhood education programs.”

Reverend David Bigsby, pastor of In The Upper Room Ministries and Co-convener of Gamaliel of Metro Chicago said, “For children whose families are low-income, child care programs are often the only early childhood education services they receive.

“We need to have a conversation about revenue,” said Rep. Soto, during the question and answer session. “Otherwise, there is really no where else to get it from, unless we zero out on other programs. Talk to your legislators about not supporting a spending resolution until there is a conversation about how to add more revenue.”

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