Opinion: Let’s Raise a Stronger Alameda County Together with Measure A


Measure on June 5 ballot supports child care and preschool

By Nancy Harvey

For more than 18 years, I’ve served families as an educator in the Bay Area, focusing on children ages 0-3 years old for the last 14 years as a family child care provider out of my West Oakland home.

I’m a third-generation West Oakland resident and relish sharing my neighborhood’s endless educational resources with children in my care—from visits to the local public library to Oakland parks and arranging visits with our fire department.

It is these early education opportunities that are helping children in my care develop, thrive and be ready for kindergarten and beyond. As a former kindergarten to 3rd grade teacher in Oakland schools and a mother of three, I know the difference quality early education makes in a child’s life.

We also know our Black and Brown children are bearing the brunt of the crisis with too many of them at a disadvantage before they even start their K-12 educational path.

Sadly, only 44 percent of Alameda County’s children enter kindergarten fully ready for school. And approximately 7,000 county children are waiting to enroll in an early education program. I’ve seen families, even dual-income parents with advanced degrees, move away unable to afford quality child care in addition to the skyrocketing housing costs here.

We have an education crisis on our hands in Alameda County.

The good news is we all can do something to put them on a better course by voting YES on Measure A on June 5. Measure A will provide our local children with safe, quality child care programs and ensure we educate young minds early, when 90 percent of brain development occurs.

Through a modest one-half cent sales tax, this measure will generate $140 million per year to enroll thousands of children in child care and preschool annually.

The measure will also be used to attract and retain quality childcare workers like me, so educators can afford to live and work in this region and keep building our next generation of responsible K-12 students, college graduates and citizens.

This is a critical piece of the measure because many child care providers are struggling and not able to earn a living wage despite being tasked with the responsibility of shaping young minds. We are also often lack healthcare benefits or the ability to retire in dignity.

Despite these challenges, I maintain a low staff-to-child ratio to ensure that the children in my care have the necessary adult-children interactions that promote increased, quality learning opportunities and prevent education gaps from developing. Measure A would help more children have this type of quality education experience.

It’s been a long road to have a solid solution before us that parents, child care providers, educators and our elected leaders all agree on.
Now it’s time for our entire community to commit to raising up a stronger Oakland together by investing in children, families, and educators.

Please join me in voting YES on Measure A to help all children and families in our community thrive.

Nancy Harvey is a Family Child Care Provider in Oakland and an associate member of Service Employees International Union Local 521.

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