De Blasio’s Pre-K Plan Reaches Poorer NYC Communities
It is the opposite of the way inequality tends to work: the wealthy are the ones with less access to New York City’s state-funded preschools during the pilot year of the prekindergarten programs.
Earlier this month, the de Blasio administration revealed that 53,230 children were successfully enrolled in the city’s pre-K centers, passing the Mayor’s goal to enroll 53,000 students.
The pre-K system is meant to serve all students, not just those below a specific household income – however most new seats this year serve ZIP codes where the median household income is low.
NYC representatives said this trend might not continue; it is likely they will focus more on wealthier communities next year.
De Blasio highlighted the urgency to fight income inequality in the city during his 2013 campaign, and made the expansion of full-day early childhood education a chief focus of his plan. Upon scoring $300 million in funding from New York in March for universal preschool, his administration prepared a plan to have prekindergarten centers open there doors to thousands of students in September.
Deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives Richard Buery says that the goal is to offer preschool to all 4-year-olds in New York City, not just those from the most disadvantaged families.
“We know that every 4-year-old benefits from a high-quality educational experience. Frankly whether you’re from a poor family or a working-class family or wealthy family, that statement is true,” said Buery.
De Blasio is doing big things in New York City; I love his passion and drive to educate the city’s youngest learners. While I agree with the emphasis to urge all 4-year-olds to attend preschool, I think the public dollars should focus on those who cannot afford early childhood education. These are the students who would truly benefit from the state-funded preschool.