Early childhood studies faculty support universal child care

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Faculty has history in advocating for Pre-K 4 SA.

By Jackie Muralles

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

A plan unveiled by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, to federally subsidize child care is a good idea for families and children in the view of Ana DeHoyos O’Connor, early childhood studies professor.

Warren unveiled a proposal outlining the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act Feb. 18.

According to a press release from her office, the act would provide high-quality developmental services by focusing on early learning and social-emotional development.

Under this plan, child care would be free to families that make less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line.

According to the website, familiesusa.org, a household of two that make less than $24,280 per year would qualify for free child care.

A family of four would qualify if their annual income is less than $51,500.

“We support universal Pre-K,” O’Connor said in an interview Feb. 25.

The reason for the support goes back to the growing wait list at the college’s early childhood center, O’Connor explained.

She said the fact that some students may not qualify to take advantage of the child care program is also a problem.

If San Antonio wants a strong workforce and an educated population then they need to advocate for programs like Universal Child Care, O’Connor said in a follow-up interview March 4.

According to the press release, Warren’s proposed federal investment in the act would cost $700 billion over 10 years as estimated by Mark Zandi and Sophia Koropeckyj, Moody’s Analytics economists.

Moody’s Analytics is a firm that helps financial markets and risk management professionals respond to changes in the marketplace through economic research.

The plan could be funded with about a quarter of the revenue raised from Warren’s proposed ultra-millionaire tax, according to the press release.

This ultra-millionaire tax would tax net worth by placing a 2 percent annual tax on every dollar of value over $50 million and an extra 1 percent tax on every dollar over a billion dollars.

This would be a new form of federal taxation and in addition to the income tax of wealthy families.

If implemented, the plan would be centered around parents of children under 6 years of age.

In 2017 the number of children between 0-5 years in the U.S. was 23.9 million.

Texas would then have a lot of people that would need to learn to work with young children and provide quality child care, said Ann Coldwater, early childhood studies instructor, in an interview Feb. 25.

“I hope that we would be a leading program in training because right now the country’s not set up to provide it (quality child care),” Coldwater said.

While there would be a need for more child care workers, the leaders in early child care may very well be from this college.

“The field of early childhood education is always growing and changing and developing, so we’re always changing to keep up with the field,” said Terri Sinclair, early childhood studies program coordinator, in an interview Feb. 18.

The early childhood program’s faculty also advocated for Pre-K 4 SA, a local pre-kindergarten program for 4-year-old children. San Antonio voters agreed in 2012 to fund the program by increasing the sales tax.

Julian Castro, then mayor of San Antonio and current 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, even stopped by the college’s early childhood center to rally support for the education initiative in October 2012.

O’Connor said the facilitators for Pre-K 4 SA also held a community meeting at this college.

She was involved even further in advocating for the program by volunteering at a local voting site.

“The day of the vote I worked one of the schools and when people showed up, I was telling them to vote for it,” O’Connor said.

For more information contact the center at 210-486-0521 or online at https://www.alamo.edu/sac/academics/program-index/public-service/early-childhood-studies/.

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