Reponding to a City Room reader’s question, Lucy Friedman, president of The After-School Corporation, makes an economic argument for why quality after-school programs matter during a financial downturn:
All working parents, including the highest earners, understand that their jobs depend on their children being cared for between the end of school and the start of family time. If you chip away at free, daily, comprehensive after-school programs — the kind that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has built into a system of historic citywide scope — parents will face terrible choices. Either they can leave their children home alone, or if they can’t afford to pay for care, they can stop working and paying taxes.
After-school programs can survive budget cuts if they are made more efficient, Friedman says. She’s hopeful that Governor Paterson will consider ideas for streamlining state-level administration and funding of after-school programs, laid out in a policy brief by an advisory group that she co-chairs.