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#reopenclc Reconsider the PERMANENT closing of the Children’s Learning Center

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UPDATE!!!! HCC extended an opportunity for current parents to speak with Dr Hetherington and discuss the permanent closure of the HCC-CLC (8/18). The reasons put forth by the HCC management for closing the center are not acceptable to us. They did not accept numerous requests, with specific ideas, to study how to open the center safely and under a new self-sustaining model.

We hope you will take the next step to support the Children's Learning Center and register to attend our virtual event this Thursday, 7:45-9 pm, REGISTER HERE!!!!!!

Show HCC President Hetherington you want her to reverse her decision to permanently close the Children’s Learning Center. Get the inside scoop on the campaign to save the Center! Hear powerful stories about how this lab school and preschool changes lives and impacts our whole community.

Our power is in numbers! We're tracking who will attend. Can we count on you? Please register today.

On July 31, 2020, Howard Community College announced, without warning, that the Children's Learning Center on its campus was closed permanently. Like many daycares and preschools, CLC had been closed since March 16, 2020, due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Teachers, staff, and families were all anxiously awaiting its reopening, as many other daycare centers in the area had successfully reopened.

This closure is a loss to the college and the broader community, as well as to the teachers, staff, families and students (ages 0-5) that are devastated by this decision. We sign this petition to protest the closure. We want HCC to reconsider and reopen. We request a meeting before the end of August on this topic.

The Children's Learning Center provides numerous public benefits. It makes HCC more accessible to parents, by providing childcare for the families of HCC staff and students as well as community members. It enhances HCC education because it is a lab school utilized by numerous departments, serving the Early Childhood Education HCC students, dental hygiene, students and more. HCC work study students are employed there and gain experience at a model center. The Center enhances the college's reputation. To date, the extremely positive education and care at the CLC turned parents into strong supporters of the college. The CLC also provides much-needed childcare slots in our community. There is a childcare shortage in our state, and during the pandemic this shortage has become especially acute.

The CLC is uniquely excellent. The student body is racially and ethnically diverse, with a sizeable percentage of students receiving some type of scholarship/financial aid. The longevity, collegiality and skill of its teaching staff is unparalleled. This is the kind of integrated public institution Columbia was established to promote. We all got excellent education for our children, and built a community there, together. Petition signers have shared their personal experiences of this excellent community below.

Part of the pain of this closure is the sense that HCC leadership has failed to appreciate how truly excellent the Children's Learning Center is. Such talented teachers and staff under the leadership of a truly phenomenal director, Laurie Moran, is rare. Too often those who care for and teach our children are underappreciated, and this is wrong.

We know that Covid-19 will change many things about our community. We trust that the excellent director of the CLC can steer the center through those changes.

The Children's Learning Center is an asset to the county and college. It should be reopened and continue as a lab school modeling educational excellence at a time when such leadership is sorely needed.

Lastly, as a publicly funded institution, HCC should operate with transparency, solicit public feedback, and respect families and staff as residents and taxpayers. With regard to the CLC, it has not. As HCC wrote in its only communication to families, the primary reason to close the CLC is that HCC is unwilling or unable to provide financial support to the Center. The closure letter vaguely refers to possible cost saving ideas, summarily characterizes them as insufficient, and shares no details. No cost saving strategies were attempted or discussed publicly. HCC did not reach out to families or teachers before its decision, much less hold a meeting to hear concerns and explore solutions with people who were deeply familiar with the Center.

The CLC is central to livelihoods and lives. It is not just a line on a balance sheet.


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