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Does Carlow University care about women or families at all?
by Marianne Bryan Thursday, Mar. 27, 2008 at 11:26 PM
bryan_marianne@yahoo.com

Carlow University gave parents eight weeks notice that their Early Learning Preschool will be closed as of May 3rd. Parents are devastated by this news and are seeking help from the community to put pressure on Carlow University president Dr. Hines and board members to reverse this short-sighted decision.

Quietly and quickly, Carlow University is undermining its own stated mission as a women-centered and ethics-based University. By May 3, in order to add a mere 10-12 dorms rooms, they are completely eliminating the Preschool in their Early Learning Center (ELC)—the ONLY full-day, full-year program at the University.

Working parents as well as parents pursuing degrees must have full-time, full-year, affordable programs to remain in the workforce and/or further their education. There are already too few comparable programs in the city, and all of them have long wait-lists, from months to years, to enter.

In a city making efforts to keep young professionals in Pittsburgh, this is an issue that must be addressed from every avenue, by every stakeholder.

Parents may have to take leaves of absence or even give up their current employment to care for their children as of May 3. This move to eliminate the preschool will also affect Carlow students (both undergrad and graduate) by destroying their opportunity to work with a medically and educationally diverse group of children. This may well affect the long-term viability of Carlow's Early Childhood Studies program, which is presently very well respected. Ironically, Carlow is hosting A Symposium in Celebration of 25 Years of Early Childhood Education on April 8, less than a month before they destroy their own ELC preschool program.

Most importantly, this decision hurts children. With the increasing demand for comprehensive preschool daycare, and the proven track record for Kindergarten preparedness that it brings, how can Carlow University be so shortsighted? We parents are stunned at the direction the University has chosen and have created an online petition ( http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Save-Carlow-ELC-Preschool ) that has garnered over 100 signatures in less that 2 days, from all around the country. The petition has both a statement of the ELC preschool's worth and a letter with more details on this situation.

We have heard that meetings have been called by the administration, however no one is communicating to the parents, leaving us utterly up in the air as to what to do, and of course, how to explain to our children that their beloved teachers and friends will all be dispersed in just over a month's time. We parents are asking the media to investigate this issue. We are also asking the presidential candidates as well as local political officials to make their stance in favor of the young working families making a difference in our city.

As a courtesy, we are informing several officials at Carlow University of both this letter and our petition. We hope they will take a long look at their goals to see how this action can possibly fit into their University's mission.

Thank you,
The parents of Carlow University's Early Learning Center

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