Editorial: Saving the Shattuck’s child care

February 14, 2014
By

What’s really going on with the state and the Shattuck Child Care Center it is giving the boot? It’s hard to tell. But when two of our most respected elected officials make extraordinary criticism of the move, it’s time to pay attention.

In their op-ed in this week’s Gazette, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and state Rep. Liz Malia rightly cut this issue down to its core: Child care matters, and the state should figure out a way to make it work.

We have no idea what internal challenges, complexities or apathy might be driving this situation. But here are some things we do know:

Rep. Malia has a track record of being dead-on in calling out the state on unwarranted bureaucratic secrecy that harms the community. Sen. Chang-Díaz is known for choosing her battles carefully and coolly. We respect their judgments greatly and are struck by their unusual expressions of outrage about the Patrick Administration’s mysterious behavior here.

We know that, by contrast, the state chose to shutter a 10-story building in our neighborhood, one that contains the child care center, without telling anyone locally. The Gazette, not the state, revealed that information.

We know that quality child care is extraordinarily important. Child education and development programs are second only to public safety in terms of the reasons we invented governments in the first place. A good start for everyone is imperative to both the individual and society at large.

We know that the Shattuck Child Care Center is in demand, with about 40 children currently attending.

We know that JP is full of potential partners interested in child welfare, from nonprofits to churches, if the state no longer is.

We know that Gov. Deval Patrick is intensely, personally interested in child care and education, as someone who came from Chicago’s rough public housing to become leader of this state.

Given what we do know, it seems that a little more willpower could make the Shattuck Child Care Center’s future secure.

We urge the state to focus better on the plight, not merely of the child care center, but most of all of its children, and find a way to say yes to them.