By Andrea Simons
On July 15, staff members and parents at the Tufts Educational Daycare Center (TEDCC) were notified that the university would be transferring the daycare to Bright Horizons, a large corporate daycare chain, on September 1, giving parents and staff six weeks to find new daycare options or comply with the switch.
TEDCC, an affordable daycare option and a part of Tufts University for 60 years, has a history of providing daycare for the Somerville community, including low-income students and students with special needs. All full-time teachers will be allowed to keep their positions at Bright Horizons, but those who do not accept will have only a short period of time to seek alternative employment.
Both parents and employees have voiced their concerns with the pending switch. TEDCC employees will lose benefits associated with Tufts University including sending their children to Tufts or to the daycare for an affordable price. Concerned parents worry because TEDCC is currently an affordable daycare option that many Somerville residents use, and Bright Horizons is a historically more expensive daycare program (although they plan on keeping the same prices as TEDCC for the upcoming year). There is also currently a Bright Horizons Daycare Center that already exists in Davis Square, only a few blocks away from TEDCC, making an additional Bright Horizons unnecessary. After the switch, university students won’t have access to the daycare for teaching and learning opportunities and many Somerville parents will be forced to send their children to a more expensive daycare because of the late notice.
Parents, teachers, staff, and community members have organized a task force asking the university to keep TEDCC or delay the transition to Bright Horizons for a year so that parents and employees can find other options as needed. The task force has already made a Facebook page and posters that have been mounted across campus. There will also be a Parents Protest Privatization of Beloved Tufts Daycare on Thursday, July 24 at 8:30 a.m. at Powderhouse Square.
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