Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Fariña made the expansion announcement at PS 316 in Ozone Park.
By Michael V. Cusenza
The City’s 3-K for All initiative will expand to six more community school districts across all five boroughs over the next three years, including to District 27, which is comprised of Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Broad Channel, and the Rockaways, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced on Thursday at PS 316 in Ozone Park.
“The whole idea was to help reach our kids at the moment when they were able to grow intellectually the most and give them that strong foundation, but also lift a burden on parents,” de Blasio said. “Parents are struggling in this city. I always say, this is a tough city to be a parent in. It really is. There’s so much going on. People work so hard, they work such long hours. And for parents in this town, they needed a break, and to get pre-K for free and now 3-K is going to be a game changer for so many families.”
According to the administration, starting in the 2018-2019 school year, the City will expand the program that offers free, full-day early childhood education for every NYC 3-year-old to two additional school districts each year. These districts include:
• 2018-19: District 4 (East Harlem) and District 27 (Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Rockaways).
• 2019-20: District 9 (Grand Concourse, Highbridge, Morrisania) and District 31 (Staten Island).
• 2020-21: District 19 (East New York) and District 29 (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Laurelton, Queens Village, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans).
“Early education is essential to the success of our students and City, and today we’re taking another big step forward,” Fariña said. “Together with our other investments in early education – including Pre-K for All, Universal Literacy, and Algebra for All – this expansion is going to have a major impact for students and families across all five boroughs, and the future of their communities.”
According to de Blasio and Fariña, there is extensive research supporting the “transformative value” of free, full-day 3-K for All, including the following:
• Several studies have found that students who attend two years of preschool compared to one are better prepared for kindergarten, and that they perform significantly higher on academic and social outcome measures.
• A study of the two-year Abbott Preschool Program in New Jersey found persistent gains in language arts and literacy, mathematics, and science through 4th and 5th grade, with larger test score gains for children who participated in two years of preschool. In addition, Abbott Preschool Program participation was linked to lower grade retention rates and fewer children needing special education.
• A study of Head Start found that families of children who attended for two years were more likely to engage in recreational activities together that supported child development, and were likely to spend more hours reading together at home.
• A Chicago study found that children who attended two years of public preschool were significantly less likely to receive special education services, to be abused or neglected, or to commit crimes in adulthood.
“Bringing children together at an early age will give them additional support in developing their social and communication skills,” said Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven). “3-K for All will help put more kids on the path to a brighter future and invest in the future of our state.”