The Public Good - NYC
Research & Planning for Social Impact


Events and Insights

This is where we share some of our insights, practical knowledge and tools that can be used to strengthen public sector programs.

The Catch-22 of De Blasio's PreK

Thanks to Mayor De Blasio, NYC now guarantees free Universal Pre-Kindergarten to four-year-olds.  Seats are available in many elementary schools where the child can seamlessly graduate to Kindergarten and remain until middle school; and UPK typically follows the same schedule as the rest of the school.  

Until 2:30.   If you’re a parent in need of After-School, you most likely have some tough choices. Apparently, NY State thinks the school building is safe enough for PreK students from 8:30 - 2:30 but not after that.  And the State doesn’t trust the same After-school staff who care for Kindergarten children to care for PreK children.

If you’re a working family who can afford to hire a nanny, that’s one solution. Or you can cobble together school pick ups of your four year old with friends and family for a year. But if you are one of the 74% of DOE students who are economically disadvantaged, and you need reliable child care every day, your PreK child may have to leave their school to commute to a day-care center for the last 2-3 hours of each day.  Or you may prefer to keep your child in a Head Start program where free (working person’s) 8-10 hour day is offered rather than enroll them in a nearby public school.

Because the State oversees the licensing of child care programs, including After-School.  While the City Department of Education manages education programs at District schools. Despite expanding the availability of UPK in NYC, the City and State have created a gap in educational opportunities for children not yet in Kindergarten.  And these archaic regulations limit what the City will offer in terms of After-school options.

Another program expanded under De Blasio, provides free After-School for many more students. Yet it excludes PreK students.  So the Mayor oversees district schools, including UPK, the State oversees After-school regulations and the Mayor decides who gets funding. And the parents don’t have much say in any of this. Or do they?

Tricia DaviesComment