Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Anarchy in the Pre-K: Betsy Gotbaum/Bill de Blasio Edition

June 5th, 2008 · No Comments

Here’s another response to what we’re calling the Anarchy in the Pre-K situation. Yesterday, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Councilmember Bill de Blasio had a press event “calling on the Department of Education (DOE) to correct mistakes made in the pre-Kindergarten admissions process and improve the appeals process for parents who have experienced problems.” (The Middle School Mess, meanwhile, is summarized in today’s Daily News.) They want the Department of Education to:

1. Correct all mistakes made in the admissions process and immediately provide parents with the appropriate placement for their children;
2. Extend the deadline for appeals until the end of June;
3. Provide additional ways to file an appeal with the DOE besides e-mail, for parents without email access;
4. Ensure detailed information on the appeals procedure is easily accessible to parents and widely publicized

After years of pre-K admissions being handled individually by schools, the Department of Education centralized the process this year intending to simplify pre-K enrollment. But, these changes have left many parents upset about inappropriate placements and a lack of information about their options.

Less than two weeks ago, parents across the city received letters informing them of the pre-K program that their child would begin in September. Many of those letters informed parents that none of the schools they had chosen were available, and a high number of children were rejected from programs where their older siblings are enrolled, although the new process is supposed to give them priority.

Ms. Gotbaum said in a statement that “These changes to the pre-K admissions system have had some chaotic consequences for parents. We are hearing from many concerned parents that this system just didn’t work the way they were told it would.” Mr. de Blasio’s statement said that “A solution for sibling issues must come faster and cannot wait until the second round of placements this month. As a public school parent, it is understandable that parents who rightly believed that they would receive preference in placing all of their children in the same school are anxious. I will work around the clock until this problem is fully resolved.”

Tags: Education