Saturday, July 12, 2014
Pre-K: Will the Promise be Broken?
A story in the NY Times entitled "Less than Half of New York City's Applicant's for Pre-K Get their Top-Choice School" pointed at one of the many growing concerns over publicly-funded pre-K in the City. Some children only receive their fifth or twelfth choice.
The logistics of the whole operation seem daunting. Now that the City is forced to pay for the rent of charter schools, in an already overcrowded educational system, the City is strapped for locations. It seems many potential sites have building-code violations which is no surprise given the report on outstanding violations in other school buildings last year. Of the already 281 approve pre-K building sites, 53 had open building-code violations last month, eighteen of which were serious. I suspect a number of these may have been cleared in the interim.
Initially, publicly funded pre-K seemed to be a great way to jump start a child's education. I have personally witnessed three little sponges under my care soak up knowledge at that age. I would hope all children could have a rich and rewarding environment in which to grow.
I am fearful though that the new pre-Ks, instead of enriching children and encouraging them to explore in different directions, will become common-core aligned test prep centers, preparing students to be a compliant work force, expecting little because they have spent their whole lives failing Pearson-concocted tests with cut scores set by "The King."
Eva Moskowitz and other charter operators will push their way into the market. Students may be subject to stringent disciplinary rules and exiled for their inability to sit down and shut up. Pre-school may not be the loving, nurturing environment we would all want for our own children. It may be a reflection of educational deformity. It may prove potentially dangerous with building-code violations and deadly with common-core adherence.