As state expands access, it should not let model center slip away

Re “State set to cut aid to day-care center” (Metro, March 26): The Shattuck Child Care Center has benefited from state rental and staff subsidies. These subsidies have encouraged people to work at Shattuck Hospital, a critical public health institution for the Commonwealth. They also take the form of reserved space on state property. Now the state’s own failure to pay for maintenance at the Shattuck is the justification for eliminating the child care center. To the hundreds of parents and kids who have loved the center and its staff over the last 44 years, and for those who will lose access to the unique preschool education they provide, this is a tragedy.

Meanwhile, the Patrick administration’s proposal to expand access to early childhood education contemplates new investments in vouchers for poor children, worker salaries and professional development, and innovative high-quality programs. A well-known model program exists at the intersection of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Dorchester. It is a perfect example of what can be achieved by combining state subsidies and well-trained people who love helping kids grow up.

The state should find a way to let the center lead the transformation of early childhood education, not make it a dreadful example of how an administration with commendable policy goals can ignore real-world models of excellence.

Tom Dehner

Jamaica Plain

The writer’s children have attended the Shattuck Child Care Center.