Mayor Bill de Blasio this week released his plans to extend pre-kindergarten to every 4-year-old in New York City.
As the mayor waits for Albany to authorize a local income tax increase on the city’s highest earners, he’s preparing city agencies for what will be a rapid and massive expansion.
“Make no mistake: we are prepared to hit the ground running and launch a major expansion of quality pre-K for the coming school year. This will be one city, where everyone rises together. The real obstacle isn’t space or personnel—it’s the sustainable funding needed to serve every child,” said de Blasio.
Meeting those standards will cost an average of $10,239 per child. The total costs of reaching all 4-year-olds with these programs—including expansion costs and ongoing operational costs—are calculated at $340 million annually.
As the number of children enrolled increases, expansion costs recede, with $6 million in expansion costs in year two, and the full $340 million in funding dedicated to ongoing operations thereafter.
Features of the New York City’s high-quality pre-K programs will include:
- Free for every child, regardless of income;
- Ensuring recruitment and retention of high-quality UPK lead teachers with early childhood certification;
- Classroom ratios of 18 children to two adults (typically a lead teacher and a teaching assistant). Classes may go up to 20 students with an additional adult;
- Basing all instruction and professional development on state pre-K learning standards, known as New York State Pre-Kindergarten Foundation for the Common Core;
- Additional support for children whose primary language is not English;
- DOE quality-assurance infrastructure for coaches, evaluation and research;
- Increased family support in high-need areas;