Child care center plays key role in community

Without affordable child care, many parents would not be able to attend school.

The Student Services Fees Committee does not think the Community Child Care Center enhances student development and has recommended – for the first time in 22 years – that it no longer receive any Student Services Fees. We at the Student Parent Association think this recommendation is a grave error.

The Community Child Care Center enhances student development by allowing student-parents to attend school. It also provides its users with knowledge on parenting and child-rearing; chances to connect with other parents; leadership opportunities in assisting in planning a program, fund raising and all aspects of overseeing a business.

Although committee members think the 36 student-families the center serves are insufficient to justify the 84 cents per student that it would cost to fund it, the center also serves the entire University community in ways the committee has been unwilling to consider. The center provides a variety of services, activities and programs – such as carnivals, potlucks, parents’ night out and brown-bag lunch seminars – that reach out to the entire University community. They also provide a unique opportunity for University students to complete needed volunteer hours, observations and internships.

The willingness of other Student Services Fees Committees to fund the center for more than 20 years attests to the fact that the center provides a valuable resource for the University community. The committee’s additional failure to fund previously funded organizations – even those associated with diverse campusgroups such as groups representing blacks or gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students – suggests that this recommendation was made in the context of a greater bias against students representing any kind of diversity.

This is particularly salient in light of the fact that the committee chairman has recently denounced homosexuality as a sin in The Minnesota Daily. The committee did, however, choose to fund the Students for Family Values group, whose president is a former committee member. It is ironic that the committee finds it fit to support a group advocating a pro-life position but not to support people living with the consequences of a pro-life decision.

The committee has suggested that the center, while a valuable resource, should be paid for exclusively by the parents using it.

Perhaps the committee members do not understand the implications of those words. Studies show that in most urban areas it costs more to send a 4-year-old to day care than to send a 19-year-old to college; day care for younger children is even more expensive. Without Student Services Fees, the center will be unable to fulfill its mission of providing affordable child care.

Without affordable child care, student-parents could be unable to attend school. Without an education they, and their children, are sentenced to a life of poverty. Parents’ socioeconomic status and educational attainment have repeatedly been shown as the greatest predictors of a child’s subsequent success.

By failing to support student-parents, the University would contribute to the social problem of children in poverty and lose students from the group with the highest grade point averages on campus. Furthermore, the University community would lose a valuable resource in which students gain important academic experiences.

Funding the child care center should be seen as an investment in our community. Failure to do so would be uneconomical and inhumane.

Amy Silberschmidt is a psychology senior and the Student Parent Association treasurer. She welcomes comments at [email protected]