Universal Pre-K's Campaign Moment

Friday, August 23, 2013

(Yasmeen Khan)

Funding universal pre-K is a popular proposal among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Mayor. Geoffrey Decker, staff reporter at, talks about what's preventing its implementation now and how the candidates plan to fund it.


Comments [18]

sarah davie from prospect heights, Brooklyn

I was outraged today to hear we have to send funds back to Albany because of the low demand for half day PreK. The demand for full-time PreK amongst my peers is enormous. Those funds should be applied to public and universal PreK programs in the City for obvious reasons; children benefit from educational preparation (keep in mind Parents are not choosing PT PreK because we can't afford caregiver and can't afford not to work). I believe that a very niche group of upper income families can take advantage of PT PreK. The majority of families I know have two working parents and can accept nothing less than full-time PreK. The idea that funds sent by Albany are not allowed to be applied to FT programs is an outrage. I am the Treasurer of a private school that offers Universal PreK and we turned away over 200 families. I am also one of the lucky few families that got my son into a FT public PreK program. I am almost ashamed to tell friends that we got him in this program because of the hardship and life altering desisiions I know many of them face.
I am not a one-policy voter however I am impressed beyond words that Bill De Blasio has identified this as a key issue for both middle class and low income families in NYC.

Aug. 23 2013 02:40 PM
genejoke from Brooklyn

This is not about babysitting other folk's kids on our tax dollars. It's about helping to create good, educated citizens who will grow up and be a part of our world. Start 'em off right and we'll all reap the benefits. Investing in the education and socialization of our children will only have positive effects on society.

Aug. 23 2013 11:24 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

I would be much happier with a candidate who wants to start a conversation about shifting the rules of the workplace to accommodate parenthood. That is one of the primary problems - now that society has shifted, and most parents need to work, there is a huge disconnect in our work lives between commitment to work, and commitment to family. If parents could spend more time with their kids, and were paid more at their jobs, the notion of mandating universal full-day pre-K would perhaps be a non-issue. Then parents could actually provide the learning and enrichment their kids need as they did in decades past.

While in reality I recognize how incredibly difficult it is to have kids in the city, and I support improving education, adding classroom space, adding enrichment programs for older students, and providing arts education for kids, it's still a personal choice to have children and to raise them, and I don't think parents realize that having kids is not a governmental right, and that their personal decisions can't always be subsidized by the public.
Universal pre-K to me sounds like subsidized daycare.

Aug. 23 2013 11:19 AM
Cynthia from East Harlem - work

Those that say the top shouldn't help pay forget that those same people then whine that we don't have enough qualified people. The earlier you start them learning the better -its proven. Also I am on the board of a neighborhood non-profit pre-k/Daycare and believe me it is far from Baby Sitting - in fact especially in using city and state funding we MUST teach and the staff must have liscensing or currently enrolled and on track to get teaching degrees (at less than DOE pay I might add). The program is audited on whether we meet standards. INVEST IN KIDS - so many of them LOVE school at this age. It makes them feel good and builds confidence that they can DO stuff. Stop looking at all this (including infrastructure etc) as liabilities but as INVESTMENTS. The better these things are the better our city is.

Aug. 23 2013 11:03 AM
Jim from NY

ALSO, kids who might not have an enriching environment at home will be primed for much greater learning in elementary school if they have a good meal or meals at pre-K and are read to there and otherwise stimulated. Otherwise they'll start their schooling already behind and it will be much more difficult for them to get out of poverty throughout their lives, with the attendant problems that creates for society.

Aug. 23 2013 10:58 AM
diana zavala from New York City

three comments:

1. Obama has called for Universal Pre-k.
2. It's not just about pre-k but about providing educational, language rich, enriching childcare options so parents can actually go to work and become examples of employed, professional role models for their children.
3. Universal Pre-k the way is handled is not available for all. When I applied there were 38 spots and 200+ applicants. It was a total lottery process where you applied on-line to 12 schools and my daughter didn't get into any.

Aug. 23 2013 10:56 AM
RJ from prospect hts

One way or another the children will need to be cared for throughout the day while their parents work. With a full day, naps can be spread out, they can have "free time" when they have the options of drawing, playing in groups, playing with letters--many things that don't have to be part of the "formal" pre-k "teaching."

Aug. 23 2013 10:55 AM
Jim from NY

Try being a parent who MUST work full-time to support your family and yourself. In that position you are desperate for full-day care for your kids. You don't have the luxury of basing your decision on what's best for the children (they can nap at pre-K when they get tired) because you and your kids have to eat. The kids will REALLY be exhausted if they're starving.

Aug. 23 2013 10:53 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

....And lest working parents get angered by my comment, I say what I did from the perspective of listening to the candidates speak about this during the debate the other night, and their angle seems to be mainly to provide this for disadvantaged kids. Clearly engaged parents should make their own choices as to what is best for their children.

Aug. 23 2013 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Just let the state do it all, already! Let them make the kids, raise the kids, educate the kids, and give them jobs at the end. The old family system is a joke now anyway. That way nobody will be able to blame their parents, because they won't have parents. The government will be the parents. The government will take as much as it needs or wants, like in the old USSR. Now that is "progressive."

Aug. 23 2013 10:53 AM

Full-day pre-k students get nap time.

Aug. 23 2013 10:52 AM
Patricia from Forest Hills

What is Geoffrey talking about when he refers to parents have to pick up their children in a couple of hours because of the half day universal pre-k program. Not true, my son attended a local day care which had a pre-k morning program. So in the morning he would be in the classrooms with instruction and in the afternoon he'd attended the daycare portion. It worked out beautifully. We need to encourage more daycares to include the 1/2 of pre-k instruction not expect the New York State to give us full day pre-k.

Aug. 23 2013 10:51 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

Though I am a Democrat and progressive, this is not something that I support.
I don't think our tax dollars should be going toward funding what is in reality, daycare or nursery school. No one wants to talk about the family lives that many of these kids have, and no one wants to dare suggest that parents who have no or limited finances, or time, or true parenting skills, should perhaps not have children until they can properly care for them. This just seems like it would be utilized as free daycare, and as a responsible person who chose not to have children because I didn't think I would be a good parent, it does not sit well with me that our city provides subsidies for those who don't do an ounce of thinking ahead of time as to what kind of responsibility having children is.

Aug. 23 2013 10:49 AM
Victoria from Fair Lawn, New Jersey

ok for working parents I get the need for an all day pre-k but if you are SAHM parent but if you are a SAHM parent spend time with your kid. The idea of a 4 year old going to school all day, is way to much. As a former SAHM and still only part-time working mom, I resent the idea that a full day pre-k program is viewed as the best way to educate and expose your child to things. I don't spend a ton of money on my kids who are ages 5 and 3, have a very rich active social life. We do some very affordable nature programs, we hit the playground, we have friends over. I do a lot with them that has nothing to do with academics and I resent a bit this huge push by everyone that the best is always a school environment.

Aug. 23 2013 10:46 AM
Jim from NY

Expecting parents to drop off kids in the a.m. and pick them up a few hours later for free pre-K is completely idiotic. If you're working, it's impossible.

Aug. 23 2013 10:46 AM
Stephanie from Manhattan

For some universal full day pre-k would be wonderful. For others, half day pre-k options are great because we don't want our kids in a full day government system at such a young age. We want a role raising our kids too. So it's about options for parents of different resources.

Aug. 23 2013 10:43 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why not just have the state make babies in factories and raise them altogether? Let the state just feed, clothe and raise kids, educate them from birth all the way through to mandatory, universal Ph.d programs.

Aug. 23 2013 10:33 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights


What about Pre-Pre-K?

That should work even better. Right?

Sad fact is that "Head Start" does not work.

The best school, best teachers don't mean a thing when the Home and Community doesn't value education.

Aug. 23 2013 09:54 AM

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