It’s back-to-school season across the country, and in New York City, that includes all 4-year-olds too.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $300 million initiative — pre-kindergarten education for all — is set to launch Sept. 4.
“We’re going to be sending a message all over this state — all over this nation — that we’re serious about education,” said de Blasio earlier this month. “The eyes of the world are on us. The pressure is on us to perform to get it right.”
Now, with less than a week to go, that pressure is mounting.
According to a report by The New York Times, some program leaders are still wrestling with building approvals, teacher recruitment and student enrollment.
Each school will be given money on the basis of student enrollment as of Oct. 1. More than half the program’s classrooms are in private buildings, so if enrollment quotas aren’t met, some schools could face getting shut down.
The mayor aims to get at least 53,000 youngsters in classrooms for the inaugural year. So far, just over 50,000 kids have signed up.
On this edition of “Inside Story,” we ask whether New York’s emphasis on universal pre-K is a worthwhile priority and if it is possible to measure the payback.