Yes, Flint’s been through some *ahem* stuff.
Some of it is horrifically unique—government action (and inaction) that exposed the entire city, including 10,000 children, to elevated lead levels in its drinking water. Some of it is horrifically not unique—chronic disinvestment in cities, systematic racism, failing infrastructure, poverty ….
We’ve watched the whole world talk about our problems ad nauseam. For months. For years. For generations. They come. They gawk. They grandstand. Do they see us though? Do they see us as we know us?
Flint is a place that changes the world. We built General Motors, the UAW, and the American middle class. We were the first city since reconstruction to elect a black mayor and the first to create anti-housing discrimination laws.
We are scrappy, hard working, and so determined that we are not always pleasant to be around. We get mad—and we make *ahem* stuff happen. Life changing, society altering stuff.
Next up: Providing opportunity and early education to all children.
Impossible? Well, Educare Flint celebrated its grand opening Monday, and it includes all of these impossibilities:
— It’s free.
• This school is for children 2 months to 5 years old to get the highest quality early childhood public education. Yes, public education in a country where universal access to education is “impossible” beyond K-12. Operated by the Genesee Intermediate School district, this school provides a tuition-free education to 220 students.
— It helps the “competition.”
• The purpose of Educare Flint is to provide access to high-quality, early childhood education to the 220 children enrolled there … and all 8,800 other young Flint kids who are NOT enrolled there. Educare Flint offers training for its teachers and all other childcare providers. And, that means all early childhood care providers whether they are teachers in other facilities or grandma and grandpa who keep the kids.
— It exists. Today.
• Building an Educare school takes four to five years. Flint did it in just over a year—from conception to construction to completion. And, Educare Flint is the largest, most modern facility of its kind nationwide. At 36,000-square-feet, the building is located on the campus of Durant-Tuuri-Mott elementary school on University Avenue. The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation gifted $11 million for the school’s construction.
In response to the most unnatural of disasters, Flint is responding bigger and better than anywhere to provide for its children. Mayor Karen Weaver said this school sends a message—and “we want the world to see.”
Is Flint perfect? Nope. Do we have a long way to go? Yep.
But can anywhere else say this?
“Flint has become a beacon of hope for children and young families. Your city is a model for the nation,” said Cynthia Jackson, senior vice president of the Educare Learning Network.