To The Editor,
I’ve never written a letter before but was compelled to by this article.
I am an alumna of the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN), and while I agree that the renown it receives in early childhood circles is deserved, a worthy and more relevant goal would be to recommit to the mission of including all members of the community, especially low-income families. It is erroneous that vouchers are only available to foster-care children and those with special needs. The Human Resources Administration (HRA) also provides vouchers to low-income families. Early Head Start and Head Start programs would be an access point for government funding of a truly inclusive community school. Not to mention that there are foster and special needs children in this community who deserve to have a high-quality early childhood experience.
My cohort of children born in the 80s who were raised on the Island and are now raising their own children here, have watched it being remade at the expense of the poorest and most vulnerable members. Affordable housing in the form of Mitchell-Lama and Section 8 is disappearing; Goldwater residents have been deported to far corners of the earth. There is the unspoken dance of what type of people will be allowed into the building to trick or treat, or into the Gifted & Talented Program, or even the playroom. This has become a very diverse and deeply segregated Island.
RIDN has a moral imperative to acknowledge the children who have been rendered invisible by its current tuition if it continues to claim it is a community school. As a community, we must consider the cost of leaving so many people behind in a place with one street.
Julia Khadijah Abdurahman