I’m retired, but I have been working. Work I get paid for. I don’t get paid a lot, but the work is important. I am working for New York City, helping with the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. I review proposals for new contracts or renewal of old contracts. My current group, Team 19, visits programs. The Division of Early Childhood Education sends us to visit the sites of between 30% and 40% of the proposals we review.

Recently, we visited programs operated in the downstairs of houses. These were houses where the program heads were living. This is more complicated than living above the store.   It is not a great way to make a living. Nor is it a great way for a program to operate.

“What are your hours” “I live here so I work from when the first kid gets here to when the last kid leaves – roughly from 7:00am to 7:00pm.” There isn’t enough space. These are small houses. Thriving programs are funded to serve 18 or so children in a classroom. Not in these places they won’t. There is not enough space.

There are other problems with the spaces. In one, there was no running water downstairs. In another, the gate to keep children out of the cooking area was flimsy. Can you actually cook and watch and teach other people’s children at the same time? When the program is so small, how do you arrange for coverage when you are sick? Or take a vacation? If you take a vacation.