Manhattan Early Childhood Alliance

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Who We Are 

We are a diverse alliance of education entrepreneurs, mostly women, who are owners and founders of pre-schools, day cares, nursery schools, PreKs, and early childhood programs. Our programs serve families across the full socio-economic and ethnic spectrum of Manhattan.  We are members of the Citywide Alliance of Early Childhood and Grade School Programs.  Through membership in this larger group of organizations from across the city, we are actively engaged in representing our membership to city, state and federal policy makers and public officials.

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As the city and state make policies that directly affect our ability to survive and thrive during and post pandemic, we must be at the table making our voices heard. 

By joining Manhattan ECA you are also represented on the Citywide Alliance of Early Childhood and Grade School Programs.

Join the Manhattan Early Childhood Alliance

 

Child Care Policy Positions Adopted by the

Manhattan Early Childhood Alliance

 

To City, State and Federal Officials We Say with One Voice

 

Help sustain & expand all existing women-owned childcare businesses.

 

I - WE ASK THAT YOU COMMUNICATE WITH US

 

Public officials should communicate with and demonstrate their respect for the providers and early childhood educators of this city. Transparency is key.

 

II- FAIRLY COMPENSATE US

 

Cost-of-Care Reimbursement – Because the current contracting fee of $40 per day for care of an infant for 10 hours (1) keeps our poverty-wage child care programs in poverty; and (2) discourages the participation of our programs operating above the poverty level, we need to end market rate based city contracts; and base city fees on the actual cost of caring for a child. Pay Parity for UPK

 

Pay Parity & Equitable Compensation: Because UPK and 3K and Special Needs seats come with greater credentialing requirements; our programs should be awarded the actual per pupil cost allocated to children attending any public school.

 

Sure, use us for Wrap-Around Childcare – Because we are here, credentialed, and experienced – but pay us for the cost of the services we deliver. Don’t try to drive us out of business. Respect our work. Why not sustain & expand all existing women-owned childcare and education businesses.

 

Opt In or Out of Networks: Because many of our businesses can and are thriving without becoming wards of networks (aka management companies), which can place ceilings on our growth, cut into our profits, and squeeze-out mom-led early childhood enterprises, city contracts should be available with or without joining a network.

 

III - ALLOW US TO EXPAND OUR FACILITIES

 

Group Family Day Care (GFDC) Regulations – Because most day care centers and community-based private programs founded by women started as home-based GFDCs there is no more foundational thing you can do than to support them. How? Reinstate the regulation, which permitted providers to operate out of multiple residential units. This will allow us to meet the social distance requirements, and also give us an opportunity to accept the DOE overflow from it’s own space limitations. Help sustain & expand all existing women-owned childcare businesses.

 

Funds for Facility Expansion – Because to serve children safely we are required to expand, we should be given easy access to capital; to grants and low interest long-term loans and any other funding mechanisms to enable lease deposits and mortgages for facility expansion, purchase, or other capital expenditures. We are not asking for

 

 

“handouts” we are asking for support. Why not sustain & expand existing women-owned childcare businesses?

 

IV - FUND CHILDCARE FOR FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS

 

Child Care/PreK Financial Aid – Many of us have successful businesses providing early childhood education and care to middle income families who were able to meet our tuition before COVID 19. Then they became unemployed. Provide tuition assistance in the form of vouchers to those currently enrolled families who are now unemployed so their children can CONTINUE in our programs. Do so even if we have no contract or are not network members. The children need continuity – this is not the time for children to change programs. Our programs need continuity. This is not the time for us to lose families happy with our services. NYC is a socio-economically diverse city, as are our early childhood programs. Help all of us retain our children. Help low and middle  income families create continuity for their children.

 

Many of Us Have CDAs and Masters degrees in Education – We are able to operate PreK – 2nd grade classes to meet the overflow in the DOE. Use us and fairly compensate us. We are credentialed to meet the city’s elementary school needs.

 

Let Us Keep Our 3K and PreK Graduates – Because you have no room for them under COVID AND because the transition to a new school for PreK or Kindergarten can be a stressful time for children and families even in normal times – let them stay where they are this year. We have children – recent graduates – set to attend public PreK and Kindergarten in public schools this fall. Allow those children enrolled with us to instead stay in our programs for another year. Give their parents vouchers toward our tuition costs for providing them with PreK and K education. Do it for the children’s sake for continuity, for the family’s sake so they can have 5-day early learning childcare (rather than 2 or 3 as you propose). It makes sense. And everyone - especially the children, families, and women owned businesses win – even the DOE wins, as you are relieved of those seats.

 

V - HELP US ACCESS PANDEMIC FUNDS

 

Help the Most Disconnected and Impoverished Amongst Us – Because over 70% of childcare providers did not file for pandemic aid loans and grants for which they were eligible, help them access these lifelines. Many of our members are out of the loop, have no internet/technology, and are leery of debt and government entanglement. Zoom videos can only work for some of these. Send trainers out to their programs to provide them with one-to-one support in their home languages so they can access these funds to which they are entitled. The small businesses of low income and working class women are as important to the fabric of our sector as the small businesses that generate middle incomes. Help sustain & expand all existing women-owned childcare businesses.

V-A - PLEASE PROTECT US

 - Protection from Fatal Errors – Provide all private programs with legal protection from COVID 19 related lawsuits and / or with subsidized insurance. Why not sustain existing women-owned childcare businesses?

 

 - Support High-Risk Providers - Because black and Latino providers are more likely to be at high-risk for fatalities under COVID 19, support them financially if they choose not to re-open, and aggressively help them get back on their feet when the pandemic is past us.

 

 - Help Protect Our Families – Because our work is essential and we are therefore essential workers, provide us with access to quarantine hotel space so we don’t bring COVID 19 home to our families. Provide compensation for our families if we loose our lives or become disabled doing this essential work.

 

 - Rapid Testing – Because today only limited and costly rapid-results-testing is available

– something key to any viable strategy for staying open and for re-opening if we have to temporarily close, give us priority access to free rapid testing.

 

 - Protect Us From Families Not Following Protocols – Because programs that have contracts with the city are defacto required to never suspend or expel children, and because enforcement of COVID 19 safety is voluntary, empower us to protect our own lives and the lives of our staff and children if we contract with the city, by permitting the suspension or expulsion of children who do not follow protocols.

 

VI - PLEASE CHANGE YOUR MODEL – BECOME OUR PARTNERS

 

Partnership Approach - Because our membership has given us clear and strong feedback that your perception of us has much, much room for improvement. (See, for example, Brooklyn Coalition of Early Childhood Programs letter dated 7/21/20 to the DOH), and because mutual respect is essential for collaboration: Let’s work together to support your senior staff in perceiving small early childhood business owners as noble community servants, and perceiving themselves as noble supporters of our efforts. How can we achieve this change in perception and relationship?

 

Enforcement of New COVID 19 Safety Regs - Because the city is relying on layers and layers of constantly updated regulations, strict social distancing protocols, in a new, uncertain, and experimental environment fraught with ongoing anxiety and confusion for all, it is very likely the steps our programs take to prepare for and operate during the pandemic will fall short of everyone’s ideals. We share the highest expectations of aligning with these new protocols and regulations. But because there is the likelihood that all of us will at any time fall short in some way, let’s work together to design an accountability system that accepts the reality. We want to be safe from COVID 19, as well as from DOH & DOE Catch 22s, unreasonable citations, and lawsuits.

 

Consult, Collaborate, Partner, Respect – This is ultimately all that we want. Consult with us before making policy. Be willing to change direction in consideration of us.

 

 

VII - FIX THE CHILDCARE SYSTEM

 

Restructure the System – Because the system was broken before the pandemic, use this as an opportunity to restructure. Because our work was devalued for decades as women’s work and the work of low-income minorities, many of our businesses have gone under in recent years as a direct result of public policy. Only a massive restructuring with respect for the small businesses like ours at its core, can fix the system over the long term.

 

A Marshall Plan to Rebuild this Female & Minority Business Sector – When the economist Betsey Stevenson looks at the pandemic-era economic crisis, she says she sees a long-simmering child care crisis that has suddenly surged to the foreground of people’s lives because, aside from the chain childcare programs and the heavily financed private schools, the future of early childhood program enterprises looks grim. As truly small businesses, we do not have the capabilities to jumpstart our programs like the large national corporate entities. That means that our economic recovery is more dependent on the decisions made outside of our businesses by governments than the decisions that we can make internally.

 

Do You Have A Vision? Are we just improvising a disaster childcare policy strategy that lacks a long-term vision for fixing our childcare system? The current short-term strategy of non-collaboration, isolated planning, zero transparency, and reliance on large corporate entities as a means to COVID 19 relief, is not going to prepare our city and nation for the economic and social challenges of our century.

To correct our path we must revise our mistakes of the past few decades in devaluing childcare, and allocating contracts to large corporate players.

 

The Forecast for Women - Because the economist Stevenson says, “The impact of the child care crisis on women’s outcomes are going to be felt over the next decade.” And for anyone hoping a vaccine will allow a quick, healthy reopening sometime next year, she says: Don’t count on it. “We are letting the whole child care system erode in such a way that it’s not going to be there for us when we are fully ready to go back. A Marshall Plan can turn this prediction around!

 

VIII - PLEASE DO KNOW WHO WE ARE - in All of Our Ethnic, Racial, and Socio-Economic Diversity

 

Our sector is the only sector in which women nursing infants and toddlers can and do actually become successful entrepreneurs, supporting their families while lovingly supporting other moms in their community who have to work outside the home. We are black, white, Latino, Chinese, Indian, Muslim, Jewish, low income, middle income, with and without diplomas and degrees; English, Spanish, Cantonese, Russian and Hindi speaking. Our businesses are home-based, center-based, and some of us have, from the ground up, grown our small enterprises into community-based N – 8 private schools - even as we are raising our children. We are the heroic women who are the fabric of this city; the wheels that keep the cogs moving. Acknowledge and respect us now as essential to public health, and the saving and rebuilding of our economy. There is nothing more essential today, than the business of sustaining and growing our programs. the small businesses sector that is women and minority owned childcare and education enterprises.

212-316-0313

501 West 123rd Street, New York, NY, USA