Make the Spelman Edelman Center Self-Sustaining sign now

We, the undersigned, recognize that Spelmans historic child care facility, founded in 1930now named the Marian Wright Edelman Center has served as an important childcare resource for generations of Spelman and Atlanta University Center faculty, staff, students, alumna as well as members of the surrounding community.

We, the undersigned, find the following timeline of activities personally distressing and deeply insulting to the Centers distinguished, 80-year legacy of excellence in early childhood education:

February 2009Without informing parents beforehand, Spelman officials announce on the College's website that the Edelman Center will close in June 2009 unless it can become self-sustaining; A special Edelman Center PTA subcommittee is immediately convened to develop a plan for self-sustainability
March 2009Committee presents the plan for self-sustainability to Spelman officials
April-May 2009Spelman officials do not give the green light to the Centers plan for self-sustainability; Some Center parents enroll their children in other schools out of fear of losing available slots and having nowhere to place their children in the fall; enrollment declines
May 2009Spelman fires longtime Center director Gracie Hutchinson; Dr. Tatum meets with parents and says the Center will be open in fall 2009 and assures parents that a new director will be hired soon
June-July 2009Center is shut down; no one answers the Centers phones or fields calls from prospective parents interested in enrolling their children in the fall; Some parents are unsure of the state of the school and enrollment declines further.
August 2009Spelman hires a new director, Andrea Lewis Johnson, an administrator and award-winning teacher from the Atlanta Public School system
August 2009Mrs. Johnson begins to implement new curricular initiatives and launches an aggressive marketing and enrollment campaign
September 20092 new families join the Center; 5 more are wait-listed for the Spring 2010
October 14, 2009Dr. Tatum meets with Center parents and announces that the Center will close on December 18, 2009; after intense discussion and outcry among the parent body, Dr. Tatum agrees to sleep on whether the Center will remain open through June 2010; At the meeting, Dr. Tatum says that Spelman is no longer interested in pursuing a plan for the Centers self-sustainability; further, she states, If I were given a million dollars for the Center, I would, respectfully, say thank you, but no.
October 15, 2009Center parents receive a letter from Dr. Tatum stating that the Center will close in June 2010
October 19, 2009Dr. Tatum informs the Spelman College community that the Center will close in June 2010 due to budget shortfalls and low enrollment

We the undersigned, agree that closing the Center permanently would bring a tragic end to an important educational legacy.

We, the undersigned, ask you to provide a written explanation for the College's recent conduct toward this historic Center, as outlined in the timeline above.

We, the undersigned, recognize that given the challenges of the current economy, the College can no longer afford to subsidize the Center.

We, the undersigned, ask that the College allow the Edelman Center to operate as a financially self-sustaining Center on campus beginning in fall 2010a plan that the College committed to back in February 2009!

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Bridget LamBy:
Petition target:
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President of Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia


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