There can be no question that the city faces serious budgetary challenges. Right now, the Mayor is proposing to balance the budget by making three sequential 5%, across the board cuts that will affect city agencies and nonprofits that provide services.
As NYC makes difficult budget choices, early education must not be sacrificed. Investing in early literacy yields long-term social, health, and economic benefits. Now is the time to improve early education, not undermine the future of vulnerable children.
City’s First Readers (CFR) is a coalition of 17 partner organizations, including all library systems, providing early literacy services across New York City; LINC is the facilitating partner. We have written to the Mayor, strenuously protesting these cuts. City’s First Readers’ early literacy programming prepares families and children, birth through five, to be school-ready. Our early literacy programs thwart the achievement gap from forming. Early literacy is essential to the well-being of children and to the equitable development of our city.
If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it is that catching up is very hard,
perhaps impossible. The proposed cuts will leave children behind:
Reducing library hours eliminates access to services and programs that are free and beneficial to young children and their families. Libraries are information hubs that connect our communities to multiple resources.
Deferring 3K expansion in the Bronx and Staten Island not only deprives children of foundational learning experiences but curtails the availability of their parents or caregivers to participate in the workforce.
Cutting funding to early education providers ensures more costly interventions in future years for all children, including new migrants and those facing the biggest barriers resulting from systemic inequity.
Young children cannot advocate for themselves. That’s why we are speaking up. As part of City’s First Readers, we have urged the Mayor in the strongest possible terms to seek better solutions, a path that will improve these young lives rather than cause damage and harm. As the City deals with its ongoing budget crisis, we ask that young children and the vital early education programs that support them be protected.
But it is important that we also acknowledge how these proposed cuts threaten all agencies and nonprofit organizations' ability to deliver essential services across many sectors - education, healthcare, mental health, seniors, immigrant programs.
There can be no question that the city needs nonprofit organizations, and collective initiatives like City’s First Readers, to deliver programs; nonprofit services are a safety net for so many in our city. Government agencies alone do not have the capacity to provide the array of comprehensive services NYC residents and families require. Yet the proposed cuts to the FY24 budget will slash the very programming that is designed to meet those needs. These budget proposals will decimate preventative services across the city.
To better understand the complexities and dilemmas we face as a city, we encourage you to explore these resources:
The consequences of our actions now will be felt for years to come. We pledge to keep you informed about the choices we face as we move forward.