This morning in Brooklyn’s Owl’s Head Park, the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center- Teach NYS Initiative, Parents for Pre-K Choice, Council Member David G. Greenfield (D-44) and community leaders from across New York City joined together to call on Mayor Bill de Blasio to ensure all families have the option to send their children to half-day Pre-K, a 17-year-old program that is facing significant downsizing this year.
The gathering represented a wide spectrum of New Yorkers, including parents, educators and advocates from across the City and from a variety of communities.
Andrea Stockton, an organizer with NYC Parents for Pre-K Choice noted, “It seems unnecessary to force full-day programs on everyone, simply to meet a stated goal. By allowing families a real choice, in the form of easy online registration for all full and half-day programs simultaneously next year, we could truly see ‘Pre-K for all.’”
Theresa Gonzalez, another organizer with NYC Parents for Pre-K Choice, added, “Right now we do not know how many seats will be available for half-day programming next year; this leaves many families in a state of limbo.”
Council Member Greenfield noted, “Families throughout our city have different needs, they work different hours and have different life styles; we cannot force families into a one-size-fits-all program. That simply won’t work. We must allow our parents to choose which UPK program works best for them.”
Jake Adler, New York State Policy Director for the Orthodox Union, said, “We are happy to be part of a broad-based coalition advocating parental choice, w working closely with parents on the ground. We will continue our fight to make Universal Pre-K truly universal.”
Other participating organizations included the Sephardic Community Youth Center; Community Education Council District 20; Yeshivah of Flatbush; Masores Bais Yaakov; and Nesivos Bais Yaakov.
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.