New York City Plans to Expand Preschool to 3-Year-Olds

An air conditioner at at I.S. 34 Totten Intermediate School

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the police union has agreed to close Rikers Island in the next 10 years.

"For as long as I was a student and after school administrator, our classrooms and the children in them suffered during the hot summer months", said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

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The "3-K for All" effort will be more challenging than the current program for 4-year-olds, requiring the city to finance and find classroom space and teachers trained to work with younger children, de Blasio said.

"It really suggests that early learning should be a higher priority for us in this region", Brownson said. He said the city planned to start in two districts, District 7 in the Bronx and District 23 in Brooklyn. "Investment in early childhood education reaps benefits for students, families and communities for years to come". That means an additional $226 million dollars that had been promised for preschool programs may not materialize. Lawmakers have until June 15 to approve a final spending plan.

The plan will be implemented in phases starting with two low-income school districts in the South Bronx and Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood this fall.

De Blasio has promoted universal prekindergarten as his administration's signature achievement.

De Blasio said his city hopes to launch a pilot of the "3-K" program next fall year at a cost of $36 million.

Perhaps the mayor's most successful citywide initiative yet, free, universal pre-kindergarten for four year olds went from ambitious campaign promise to reality in under two years - a massive feat. Advocates say the sweltering temperates that some classrooms reach in warmer months make it hard for students to learn and can harm their health. The city expects to spend an estimated $177 million for the expansion by 2021, but the total cost - almost $900 million - will require state and federal funding to the tune of $700 million.

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