A longstanding body of research shows that high-quality prekindergarten programs help children succeed in school and in life — a driving force behind the city’s unprecedented expansion of pre-K this year. But high-quality programs depend on high-quality teachers, and getting educators ready for the new programs is requiring a herculean effort.
As in many places, expanding preschool access hinges on funding in Indianapolis, and Mayor Greg Ballard is facing hard questions about how he plans to add more learning time for the city’s youngest students.
As the city scurries to make 53,000 full-day pre-kindergarten slots available this September, every seat counts. But when officials tried to round up pre-K seats in Jewish schools, the largest group of non-public schools in the city, some ultra-Orthodox yeshivas hesitated to add full-day programs that would limit their time for religious instruction.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made clear that he wants all kids to have the head start that full-day pre-kindergarten can provide. Elementary schools that are heeding his call to add seats cite a range of reasons, not all related to learning.
The city is racing to allow charter schools to tap into new state funds allotted for its ambitious pre-kindergarten expansion plan. But charter leaders are now waiting for answers to a number of thorny logistical questions that may determine whether they try to open pre-K programs at all.