“Universal” pre-k could widen New York City’s achievement gap, writes Robert Pondiscio.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s $300 million program to provide free, full-time pre-K to all children is not reaching the neediest children, reports Bruce Fuller, a Berkeley professor of education and public policy.
Mayor de Blasio’s pre-K program added only 195 kids from the bottom 20 percent of ZIP codes this fall, according to Fuller’s data. “Middle-income neighborhoods are showing the greatest gains in registration, while enrollments have actually fallen in nineteen of the city’s thirty-four poorest zip codes,” notes Pondiscio.
“We just don’t have the evidence to back why we would heavily finance pre-K in middle class and upper class communities,” Fuller told ProPublica. Children from low-income families need early education the most, he wrote earlier, but the city’s program advantages well-off communities.