Tag Archive for: Karen Frederick

kids on bus
kids on bus

Opening Safely Should be a Top Priority


by Karen Frederick and Meghan Adams Siembor

LOWELL SUN 9/28/2020 B: Focus     Page B01 1/2

While public school educators and school systems are still debating how to safely return ( or not) to classrooms, early education programs were allowed to open in July, and if subsidized by the commonwealth were required to open by the end of July to be eligible for continued payment to care for and educate the state’s most at risk, low income children. This allows working parents who have no option of remote work to continue to provide for their families and support our
local economy. On July 8, Community Teamwork opened our doors and safely phased in up to 50% of our previous
enrollment by the end of July. This past Friday we were informed by the Department of Early Education and
Care that we could increase our classroom group size to 100% capacity, from 10 to 20 children. We have
seen no data or public health information which supports this increase.

With the benefit of only one month of reopening data, flu season on the way, and a projected spike sometime
in the fall of Covid-19 virus cases, we feel this is premature and dangerous to our staff, children and their
families — especially as schools are determining in some cities that even 25% of enrollment is not safe.
Looking at this new directive with a racial equity lens is even more disturbing. Our staff represent our
population. There are a majority of people of color who are already hit harder by this virus, as are our students
and their families. The commonwealth and the federal govern

Julia Malakie / LOWELL SUN

We were informed by the Department of Early
Education and Care that we could increase our
classroom group size to 100% capacity, from 10 to
20 children.
We have seen no data or public health information
which supports this increase.

ment that subsidize our programs for low income and at-risk children and families have a responsibility to
ensure the safety and sustainability of our programs. Without our high-quality early education and care
programs, the achievement gap will grow even higher. Parents, businesses, and our economy need us. We
have long talked about the important role of early education and child care in children’s academic
success, and we have long recognized the role child Just last week mobile, rapid Covid testing was made
available to public schools ( not yet open.) We applaud this initiative but ask why this has not been made
available to our programs, which have been open since July.

Across the sate, some early education programs are waiting up to 10 days for test results and several days
to even get appointments for testing. It is crucial that mobile rapid testing for staff, children and their
families be made available to programs already operating and serving infants through school age
children in the commonwealth. Opening safely should be a top priority Early Education Centers

9/28/2020 B: Focus
care plays in the economy. Parents cannot work without safe, affordable, high quality programs. Many
workers and single parents working in nursing homes, hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants shelter,
group homes, and child care centers are low wage workers who depend on state and federally funded
subsidized programs to care for and educate their children.

The subsidized system of the state’s Department of Early Education and Care was fragile prior to Covid,
with state rates as much as 30% lower than private rates. Across the state, our programs are currently
looking at when to close down classrooms, lay off staff, and even close entire centers.
Stable, adequate funding must be made available so that our programs are still here when it is safe to reopen
to capacity. This is a critical time which will determine the future of our field and parents’ access to affordable,
quality education and care for their infants through school age children. Improving educational outcomes for children and
achieving racial equity in our communities starts with quality early education. And supporting families working hard at essential jobs to provide food, housing and opportunity to their families is essential to our economy.

We call on the commonwealth and federal government to adequately and stably fund Early Education
Programs and to provide essential resources such as testing to ensure their future existence and to ensure
our economy can fully recover. Karen Frederick, CEO, and Meghan Adams Siembor, Division Director, Child
and Family Services at Community Teamwork

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People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster lastsunday in Austin Texas.
People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster lastsunday in Austin Texas.

Truths about Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”, it is pro-community

Sun | Page B01 and B02 Sunday, 2 August 2020

By Karen Frederick, CEO Community Teamwork

An opinion piece that recently ran in this paper accused peaceful protests about racial injustice of being “ anti- police” — a common attack we have heard on the Black Lives Matter movement for years. Being an advocate for reform, training, and enhanced social service capacity is not “ anti- police.” It is pro- community.

Support centered on Black Lives Matter, commonly referred to as BLM, is a national movement. I could not disagree more with the author of the oped. Citizens and elected representatives, like Congresswoman Lori Trahan, seek constructive change.

So, here is the truth about the movement that the author of the negative op- ed elected to ignore.

As a result of the BLM movement, communities across our country are engaged in long overdue conversations about racial disparities rooted in hundreds of years of discriminatory practices, policies and laws that continue to negatively impact the Black community.

These disparities have real consequences. The committee’s selection is based on three criteria: running skills, teamwork and leadership. The Black community endures higher rates of unemployment and poverty. And they live at a greater risk of homelessness than their neighbors. Of course, these challenges are only made worse by the global pandemic we currently face.

Community Teamwork staff and I have witnessed these struggles firsthand in our work with families and individuals throughout the Greater Lowell region during the COVID pandemic.

BLM and its supporters like me are far from “ anti- police”; so too are the elected officials that the op- ed author labels as such. From the day she was elected, Trahan has been a tireless Community Teamwork advocate and partner. She cares deeply for her hometown of Lowell and all the communities she represents. Her support for Community Teamwork has never wavered. In fact, it is because of that support, along with that of Senator Ed Kennedy and Representative Jim Arciero ( among our many bipartisan supporters) that Community Teamwork can strengthen its programs.

Together, their support and advocacy helped us garner the resources to address the critical needs of low- income people in the 70 cities and towns we serve.

Our clients are fortunate to have leaders like them representing us. These are challenging times. Yes, Black Lives Matter and seeking change is not “anti-police”. It is constructive leadership. Karen Frederick of Dracut is CEO of Community Teamwork.

People carry a Black Lives Matter during a vigil in memory of Garrett Foster last sunday in Austin, Texas.