By: Saporta Report
The opportunity gap in the City of Atlanta starts early. There are more than 30,000 children in Atlanta who are between the ages of birth to five, and their families face housing, health care, and child care costs that are increasingly out of reach. These challenges make it harder for parents to provide the support children need to succeed and may even contribute to toxic stress that inhibits healthy brain development. The statistics are deeply concerning:
- 34% of Atlanta children live in poverty.
- 63% of third graders in Atlanta public schools are not reading at grade level.
- An estimated 32% of Atlanta’s child care demand is being left unmet.
Our City is at a crossroads as voters will elect a new Mayor, a new City Council President, members for the City Council, and Atlanta School Board.
GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance is making sure that the importance of child well-being is at the forefront of the minds of both voters and candidates this election season.
The Mayor and other city leaders can play a crucial role in improving outcomes for young children and their families. This can be done by assessing community needs to better understand how young children and their families are currently being served; making early childhood a priority in the community and municipal government; preparing locally appropriate strategies to help more children enter school ready to learn; enhancing early learning opportunities to ensure that more child care settings provide high-quality programs, and expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care.
This week, GEEARS, The Junior League of Atlanta, and PAACT: Promise All Atlanta Children Thrive have partnered to host a virtual Atlanta Mayoral Candidates’ Forum. Candidates will address tough questions about health, education, family engagement, and more. You can tune in from home and hear from each candidate about the role they hope to play to ensure that every child in Atlanta has an opportunity to succeed and that their families have the support they need in order to be successful citizens of our city.
All registered candidates were invited to participate in the forum. The following candidates have confirmed that they will be in attendance as of October 1, 2021. Additional candidates may confirm their attendance in the coming days.
- Antonio Brown
- Andre Dickens
- Sharon Gay
- Kenny Hill
- Rebecca King
- Felicia Moore
- Roosevelt Searles
- Richard Wright
This forum is open to the public, and you are encouraged to participate virtually. The discussion takes place on Wednesday, October 6, from 5:30-6:30 pm. You can register for the event here: https://atlantamayoralcandidatesforum.eventbrite.com
Atlanta’s children deserve every opportunity to thrive. Our youngest Atlantans cannot yet vote, so they are counting on all of us to be informed and to vote with their futures in mind.
Mindy Binderman is the Executive Director of GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students. Find out more at https://geears.org.