A couple of years ago, my wife and I were touring a local preschool when my wife hesitantly inquired about financial aid. “We consider attending preschool to be a privilege, and so there is no aid,” we were told. We never returned to that school again. Instead, we found a preschool that was willing to take account of our middle-class income and offered us a discounted tuition. And that was that.
But pre-K is different. It is no longer just a privilege for some. And rightly so. A significant body of research shows that young children who participate in high-quality pre-K programs enter school more ready to learn. These children also show significant academic gains. Fortunately, thanks in great part to our city’s newest mayor, New York State’s government was convinced of the importance of pre-K for all children and recently funded a universal pre-K program, thus making a free pre-K program available to all.
Earlier this year, my family moved near a public school with an established pre-K program in the hopes that this would give my 4-year-old daughter a good chance to win the admissions lottery for the school. When it came time for applications, we applied to that program and four others in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where we live. Read the rest of this entry →