Wednesday, December 15, 2010

B’klyn Councilmen Rally To Save Daycare Program 

Amid a sea of black hats, five Brooklyn councilmen, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and others yesterday denounced the planned elimination of a daycare voucher program that primarily benefits the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities.

The program, known as Priority 7, pays for childcare for more than 2,200 children, many of them in Crown Heights, Borough Park, Midwood and Williamsburg.

Councilman David Greenfield (D-Borough Park/Midwood), who led the rally inside the City Hall lobby, explained that the program is necessary because needy Orthodox Jewish families don’t necessarily “fit the profile” under which other anti-poverty programs are designed.

For example, very few such families are female-headed, but for religious reasons, eight or nine children in one household are not uncommon.

All in all, said Greenfield, 100,000 Orthodox Jewish children live below the poverty level, but only 3.5 percent of all available daycare slots go to these children. One problem, several speakers emphasized, may be the perception that there are few needy Jewish children.

Mayor Bloomberg plans to end the program at the end of this month. De Blasio revealed that advocates presented a plan to phase out the plan little by little over the next five years, but that plan was rejected by the Mayor’s Office.

In addition to the hardship to families, said Greenfield, hundreds of daycare workers could be laid off, and seven daycare centers would be forced to close.

City Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Canarsie/Bergen Beach/Starrett City) held up a campaign flyer for Mayor Bloomberg, distributed in the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities during one of the mayor’s election campaigns, that brags about how Bloomberg funded 2,000 Priority 7 vouchers. City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush/East Flatbush), an African-American, said, to some smiles, “I’m not Jewish.” However, he said, he is dedicated to helping his Jewish constituents. “If they come to close your daycare centers in the morning, they’ll come to close my daycare centers in the evening,” he told the crowd.

Also speaking were Councilman Steve Levin (D-Brooklyn Heights/Downtown/Williamsburg), Councilman Brad Lander (D-Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Park Slope) and Queens Councilman David Weprin.

The Orthodox community was represented by members of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg, the Satmar Hasidim, the Lubavitcher Hasidim, the Pupa Hasidim, the Board of Jewish Education, Agudath Yisroel, the Bobover Hasidim and the Sephardic Community Federation.

Rabbi Chaim Weinberg of Yeshiva Ateret Torah, a Sephardic yeshiva on Quentin Road, told those assembled that young children, those who have gone to daycare centers and/or preschools perform better on tests than children who haven’t. If we deny funding for preschools, he continued, we will end up spending money for remedial education.

He also said that Jewish charity organizations cannot fill the void that would exist if Priority 7 were canceled, since these organizations themselves are struggling.


Same old New York politician dealmaking garbage!

How about just getting a full tuition tax credit that will benefit the working taxpaying slobs.



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