Ms Rachel is fighting for New York parents as mayor slashes funding for early childhood education

Ms Rachel is fighting for New York parents as mayor slashes funding for early childhood education

Family YouTube star Ms Rachel has issued a public response to New York City mayor Eric Adams’ proposed budget cuts to early childhood education.

Rachel Accurso, also known as “Ms Rachel” to her 9.27m YouTube subscribers, took to social media on Tuesday 16 April to criticise proposed cuts to the city’s free 3-K and pre-K programs. “Parents are really struggling to find affordable high-quality childcare,” Accurso began the video.

“I want to be the best advocate I can be for families with young children. Here in New York City, our mayor cut $400m from early childhood education programs and is proposing more cuts,” she continued.

In a CBS report, New Yorkers United for Child Care said Adams has cut nearly $400m from the city’s free 3-K and pre-K programs, for children ages three to four years old, since 2022. In 2025, the city reportedly plans on cutting another 14 per cent of the budget.

“What doesn’t make sense is for every dollar invested in early childhood education you get $4 to $16 back,” Accurso said. “Also, all children having access to the option of high-quality early childhood education is going to help the children for their whole lives and is literally going to create a better world for all of us and for future generations and we just need to do it.”

Accurso revealed in the caption of her post that she will be travelling to Washington, DC, to advocate for early childhood education, and urged New York City parents to “sign the New Yorkers United for Child Care petition to stop the cuts for pre-K and 3-K”.

In November 2023, Adams announced a sweeping $550m budget cut to New York City’s Education Department. Additional cuts of five per cent of the budget were initially proposed for January this year and again in spring 2024. However, after facing pressure from parents and teachers’ unions, Adams reversed a small portion of previously proposed budget cuts in January. Last month, the mayor also cancelled another round of city budget cuts that were set to take place in April.

Accurso has gained internet popularity among infants, toddlers, and parents with her “Songs for Littles” series, in which she encourages language development and milestones through nursery rhymes and songs. Accurso co-founded the “Songs for Littles” with her husband and Broadway composer, Aron Accurso aka “Mr Aron”. Prior to launching her YouTube channel in 2019, Accurso - a New York City resident - received two master’s degrees in early childhood development and music education at New York University.

The American YouTuber’s popularity has even reached across the pond, where one British mother previously revealed that her toddler has started to speak with an American accent from watching Accurso’s videos.

Kelly Convey, who goes by the username @kelly_convey on TikTok, shared a video last June highlighting the influence Accurso has had on her 21-month-old daughter, Bea. In the clip, Convey began by asking: “Has anybody else got a British, and I have to stress British, toddler who watches Ms Rachel and, as they’ve started to speak, you realise that they’ve actually got an American accent?”

Convey filmed herself asking her daughter to say “car,” which the child pronounced in an American accent. The mother then asked Bea to say “more,” “ears,” and “zebra,” with the 21-month-old pronouncing each word differently from her mother.

“You’re so clever,” Convey told her daughter, giggling about the toddler’s Americanised pronunciations. In the caption of the viral video, Convey wrote: “Born in the USA.”