Posts tagged "pre-K"
December 9, 2013
Earlier today, we pointed out that some Democrats who supported one of Bill de Blasio’s rivals during the mayoral primary were coming around to a campaign pledge they once panned.
Another of those critics of Blasio’s expanded pre-kindergarten access plan—which calls for an income tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers—was American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who endorsed Bill Thompson in the primary. In August, Weingarten held a conference call with reporters specifically to criticize the plan.
“We need a mayor in the city of New York who will take this idea and actually get it done and not base it on a tax that may never materialize,” Weingarten said then, calling Thompson “a doer” and describing de Blasio as more of an idealist.
But when asked today if she remained pessimistic about the plan, which requires state approval, Weingarten said she had been mistaken.
“Sometimes you’re wrong, as I was during the campaign, when I suggested that Bill de Blasio couldn’t gain support in Albany for his early childhood education initiatives,” Weingarten said in a statement.
November 25, 2013
In his first major post-election speech, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio argued Monday that his wide electoral victory amounts to a mandate to curb inequality by expanding the city’s pre-Kindergarten and after-school programs through a tax hike on the wealthy.
But beyond announcing the formation of an “early-education working group” to hash out the details of the expansion, which he said he wants to begin rolling out next school year, de Blasio offered few new details about his central campaign pledge.
Instead, he repeated his plan and said that it is gaining support from lawmakers in Albany, who must approve it – even as former mayor David Dinkins suggested to de Blasio, his one-time aide, that he reconsider the income-tax hike.
“I have offered a game-changing investment in early-childhood education and after-school,” de Blasio said in his keynote speech at a summit on children hosted by the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Nothing less will do.” (more…)
February 5, 2013
Charter schools want to piggyback on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to expand pre-kindergarten across the state. But in order to benefit from Cuomo’s $25 million in pre-K grants, the schools first must win the right to offer pre-K classes.
Pushing for that right is at the top of charter school supporters’ agenda today as they convene in Albany as part of the charter sector’s annual advocacy day. The parents will meet in the Albany Convention Center with more than a dozen legislators, then spend the rest of the day visiting their district representatives.
They’re not the only ones lobbying lawmakers over pre-K this week. On Monday, police chiefs, principals, and education groups from around the state declared their support for Cuomo’s pre-K grants, which represent a fraction of the $385 million that the state spends annually on pre-kindergarten.
The charter sector’s lobbying efforts are not so straightforward, because the state’s 1998 law authorizing the schools grants them the right to serve students in kindergarten to 12th grade only. Legislators would have to change to the law — last revised in 2010 amid heavy controversy — to allow pre-kindergarten in charter schools.
“It’s our job to talk to lawmakers and say to them, ‘Hey, does it really makes sense to a have a program where some really good schools don’t have the ability to do full-day pre-K?’” said James Merriman, CEO of the New York City Charter Center. (more…)
December 10, 2009
Lower East Side parents who want to ensure their pre-k students stay in the same school for kindergarten will now be able to do so, though a citywide policy bans schools from giving admissions preference to their own pre-k students.
Parents in Manhattan’s District 1 have been lobbying for the exemption for more than a year. The district’s parent council, elected officials and the Department of Education have hammered out a nearly-final deal, presented to parents at a public meeting last night.
Last school year the DOE began barring schools from giving admissions preference to students already enrolled in their own pre-k programs.
Lisa Donlan, the president of the parent’s council, said that the policy ran counter to the district’s historical commitment to having full-day pre-k programs that are considered fully integrated into the school’s culture, whereas many districts have half-day pre-k programs that are almost considered separate from the school itself. (more…)
December 17, 2008
The Buffalo News today reported on some of those statewide cuts:
• Requiring districts to pay 15 percent of the cost of preschool special-education services. Those costs are now covered by the state and counties.
• Delaying for at least two years planned increases in prekindergarten funding.
• Eliminating $40 million for teacher development centers.
• Scrapping a $10 million Teacher Mentor Intern Program, which allows veteran teachers to assist less-experienced colleagues.
• Eliminating a $10 million fund that provided math and science programs of which students can avail themselves at colleges and universities.
An important note about that second bullet point: Even though Gov. Paterson isn’t increasing state pre-K funding, New York City could still see an increase in the number of children enrolled in universal pre-K programs. (more…)
December 17, 2008
Sara Mead, who directs a center on early childhood policy at the New America Foundation, just e-mailed me a response to my post on pre-K in New York. The state, she says, is “a case study in ‘how to do universal pre-k in a really stupid way that creates problems and doesn’t achieve your goals.’”
But Mead says there’s a better model right next door in (seriously) New Jersey. She writes:
There’s a lot of important stuff going on in New Jersey right now around their Abbot pre-k programs and pre-k expansion there. (I would argue that New Jersey’s progress in pre-k expansion is an example of doing it right in contrast to New York state’s more troubled path on pre-k).
December 17, 2008
Today’s New York Times reported that Obama could oversee “the largest new federal initiative for young children since Head Start began in 1965″ if he makes good on his pledge of $10 billion for early childhood education, leaving proponents of such programs “atremble” in anticipation of his administration’s support.
December 17, 2008
Talking about Barack Obama’s hopes for expanding early childhood education (school for 3- and 4-year-olds) Sam Dillon reports in the Times this morning that, despite efforts to make pre-kindergarten available, New York State’s efforts are “far from complete.” How far? Pretty far. There are two areas to pay attention to: access (how many 4-year-olds are actually enrolled in programs) and quality (are the programs doing real teaching or simply baby-sitting?).
Let’s start with access. New York City advocates told me last year that they estimate demand for pre-kindergarten in the city at about 75,000 4-year-olds. Yet the number of 4-year-olds who are taking part so far this year is 54,000. That represents a steady increase from years past, the Department of Education’s director of early childhood education, Recy B. Dunn, just told me in a telephone interview. But it’s still far away from universal — and it’s also below the number of seats the state agreed to pay for this year, 60,000, a package that would cost just over $230 million, Dunn said. The picture statewide is arguably bleaker. Winnie Hu of the Times reported last year that only 38% of 4-year-olds in the state participated in programs. (more…)
July 31, 2008
Coming soon… notes from Wednesday’s public hearing in Manhattan.
New York City’s Proposed Citywide Contracts for Excellence plan provides:
- 63% or $242 million in discretionary allocations to schools, which may be used for new or expanded programs in any of six areas: class size reduction, time on task, teacher & principal quality initiatives, middle and high school restructuring, full-day pre-kindergarten programs, and model programs for English Language Learners (ELLs). The DOE has posted more details about options within each program area.
- 20% or $76 million for targeted allocations to schools based on student need and the school’s capacity to carry out programs. These funds will be spent on new collaborative team teaching (CTT) classrooms, full-day pre-K expansion, new and expanded autism spectrum disorder, and ELL summer school expansion. An additional $7 million will be allocated this week to a small group of high-needs schools.
- 10% or $37 million to district-wide initiatives, with $10 million going to new and expanded principal training initiatives, $20 million going to school-wide performance bonuses, and $7 million to new and expanded multiple pathways to graduation initiatives.
- 8% or $30 million to maintenance of effort, specifically maintaining summer programs that target the lowest-performing students.
School-based allocations of the discretionary funding were combined with targeted allocations and other funding to produce this overview of Contracts for Excellence spending by program area:
According to the citywide plan, within the class size reduction program area, $100 million will go to reducing teacher-student ratios through team teaching, while $46 million will go to creation of additional classrooms. The majority of time on task dollars will go to dedicated instructional time ($42 million) and summer school programs ($31 million), and the majority of teacher and principal quality dollars will go to instructional coaches for teachers ($45 million).
Much more information, including summaries and tables of district and school-level distribution of funds to specific program areas and strategies, and a breakdown of spending by student need category, along with model ELL strategies outlined by the state, can be found on the DOE’s website.