Major expansion of 3-K for All

schools chancellor Meisha Porter
Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter greets students arriving at Phyl’s Academy, Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Beginning in September the city’s public schools, which currently serve 23,500 three-year-olds, will be adding an additional 16,500 kids to the 3K program.
Associated Press/Mark Lennihan,file

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter have announced that, in partnership with the City Council, 3-K for All will expand to the remaining 16 community school districts in the 2021-22 school year – bringing free, full-day, high-quality 3-K to up to 16,500 more three-year-olds across New York City.

By this fall, de Blasio said the city will support about 40,000 3-K seats across all 32 community school districts.

In addition to expanding to School Districts 1, 12, 14, and 29 this fall as previously announced, the city will expand to offer 3-K to as many families as possible in the remaining sixteen school districts: 2, 3, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28 and 30.

The mayor said 3-K is already offered to every three-year-old in School Districts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 19, 23, 27, 31 and 32.

“3-K has been invaluable for so many kids and working families across our city,” he said. “Now, as we build a recovery for all of us, we are bringing 3K to every district across our city, giving more kids the quality head start they need to grow and thrive.”

“Providing a high-quality education to every New York City student starts with our youngest children, and I’m thrilled to expand 3-K for All to reach every district citywide and bring access to thousands more three-year-olds and their families during this critical time,” Porter said. “These programs provide children with an invaluable head start in school and life, and I encourage families to explore the 3-K and Pre-K for All options available in their communities and apply.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson said early childcare education is “one of the best investments we can make as a city,” adding that “this accelerated expansion of 3k is going to help make New York City a leader in this important field.

“More work remains, but this Council is proud of the cooperation and innovation that went into making this program a reality,” he said. “We thank the de Blasio administration for being our partners in this effort. This is great news for families.”

Like Pre-K for All, de Blasio said 3-K for All relies on the partnership of community-based organizations, including Head Start programs, child care agencies and family child care providers.

He said the timing of the expansion aligns with the culmination of the city’s historic commitment to achieve pay parity for certified early childhood education teachers by October 2021, “a goal which is on track to be met.”

The Mayor’s Office said that achieving a pathway to pay parity between early childhood educators in community-based organizations and those working in district schools completes the promise made by the mayor and the City Council to the provider community during summer 2019, as part of agreements with District Council 37, the Day Care Council of New York, and the Head Start Sponsoring Board Council, as well as a commitment to non-represented teachers.

Certified teachers saw phased-in wage increases beginning in October 2019, the Mayor’s Office said.

It said non-certified teachers and support staff have also seen increases in compensation.

“3-K for All is the nation’s most ambitious effort to provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old child and builds on the success of Pre-K for All,” the Mayor’s Office said. “High-quality 3-K helps to make sure children are prepared for kindergarten and have a strong start in school and life.”

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said “3-K has proven to be an absolutely vital service in communities across our city, and I’m glad to see it continue to expand to bring this resource to all New Yorkers.

“I thank the mayor and newly-appointed Chancellor Porter for recognizing this need as we begin to build a recovery from the pandemic to make this investment in educating our children and supporting our families, as we must pursue a Renewed Deal for New York,” said the son of Grenadian immigrants.

More from Around NYC