Oakland Metropolis Council management Kaplan, Bas, Thao and Fife Publish Plan to Save Head Begin on Childcare Facilities | Oakland Information now
Oakland, California – Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao and Councilor Carroll Fife are working in concert with full community support to call for the fair reopening of Head Start daycare in the most underserved communities in Oakland September 1, 2021, special session of the city council. Members of the Oakland Ward made an urgent statement calling for the vital services of the Head Start Center to be protected. Councilors have released a plan of action to halt the planned closings of Head Start programs which, if closed, will disproportionately affect our hardest hit communities.
Working mothers are hardest hit by staff cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The closure of schools and day care centers has resulted in a shortage of childcare providers, causing childcare costs to hit an all-time high in 2020. As California reopens, the lack of affordable childcare makes it harder for mothers to get back to work. This group of Oakland leaders is deeply concerned about the lack of justice in the city administration’s plan to shut down childcare centers as it is unfair and plans to close the Arroyo Viejo, Franklin and Tassafaronga centers, all in the most underserved communities of Oakland are located. The proposed closings disproportionately target cuts among blacks and exacerbate suffering in Oakland’s hardest-hit communities, low-income families and people of color. The planned cuts also include unfair layoffs of workers and undermine our community’s economic recovery at a precarious time.
The council members presented their proposal to amend the budget to rescue the head-start centers with urgency for the special council meeting on September 1, 2021. The loss of these head start centers is creating an urgent service crisis, violating our equity principles, and has prioritized further cuts in service for members of the black community. The proposed cut threatens our social cohesion in this troubled economy, as troubled workers cannot find work if childcare ceases and children lose the stability of early childhood education centers. If the city council does nothing, these Head Start Centers would close in September 2021.
Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan stated, “We must make justice a priority in our city’s COVID-19 recovery plan, and delivering much-needed services to our hardest-hit communities is a high priority. Head Start is an important program that helps children have a positive lifelong future and gives working parents access to economic recovery. The government’s plan to close these needed centers and lay off these vital workers while keeping the information hidden from the council and the public for months is inadequate. We must ensure justice and transparency, and protect vital services to our communities. I call on everyone involved to adopt this plan to save head start and support the delivery of these services to all Oakland communities. “
“Our most vulnerable children and families in Oakland need support. The Franklin Head Start Center serves a diverse community in District 2, from Chinatown to Eastlake to the San Antonio neighborhoods, and I fight to protect the services to these families and the jobs for the workers who care for our children take care of it. ”Nikki Fortunato Bas, President of the Council and representative of the 2nd District.
“A solid investment in Head Start is an investment in our future; it is long-term public safety planning; it is the right thing to do. Our local government cannot allow Head Start to fail. This would mean continuing the practice of state-sanctioned discrimination that creates new racial differences and perpetuates existing ones. It is our responsibility to intervene so that every single frontline employee who cares for families and young people in our Head Start Centers can keep their jobs. I am discouraged to learn that this urgent matter has been brewing for months and has only now been noticed by the city’s elected leaders as a crisis to be resolved. As a black working class worker, like many of our Head Start providers, I have experience in needing access to affordable childcare. And as an elected official, I am committed to ensuring that our centers are open, funded, and accessible to the families who need them most. ”Carroll Fife, District 3 Councilor.
“Every parent knows that the first five years of a child’s development have a huge impact on the adult they become. Head Start is an essential resource for children and parents in need of assistance. One of my top priorities is making sure that every child in Oakland has a chance to be successful. I will continue to fight to ensure that Oakland Head Start is fully funded and that the Oakland children are not forgotten. ”Sheng Thao, Council President Pro Tempore and District Fourth Representative.
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