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Mayor de Blasio Announces 3-K for All

April 24, 2017

City launches plan to bring free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education to every three-year-old, building on success of Pre-K for All

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced 3-K for All, the most ambitious effort in U.S. history to provide universal, free, full-day, high-quality early childhood education for every three-year-old child regardless of family income. 3-K for All will build on the success of Pre-K for All – through which the City has more than tripled the number of four-year-olds enrolled in free, full-day, high-quality Pre-K – and is part of a broader effort to create a continuum of high-quality early care and education programs for New York City children from birth to five years old. Research has found every dollar invested in high-quality early education saves taxpayers as much as $13 long-term.

New York City is starting the path to 3-K for All for fall of 2017, aiming to serve over 11,000 three-year-olds in new and enhanced free, full-day, high-quality seats. This includes the first year of a two-year expansion to create hundreds of new, free, full-day, high-quality seats in District 7 in the South Bronx and District 23 in Brownsville. By fall of 2018, we will have a seat for every three-year-old living in those districts that wants one, and project we will serve 1,800 children in those two districts – triple the number enrolled today. At the same time, we will help families enroll in existing seats for 3-year-olds in New York City and provide additional support and enhance quality for over 11,000 three-year-olds currently enrolled in those will also strengthen existing programs serving children from six-weeks-old through three-years-old.

3-K for All is part of the Mayor’s Equity and Excellence for All agenda, which aims to ensure that by 2026, 80 percent of students graduate high school on time and two-thirds of graduates are college ready. At the completion of the financial plan FY 2021, this effort will cost a total of $177 million.

“The research is clear – investment in early childhood education reaps benefits for students, families and communities for years to come. Using the successful model we developed for Pre-K for All, we are doubling down with free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All for our three-year-olds. This extra year of education will provide our children with a level of academic and social development that they cannot get later on, while at the same time, alleviating some of the strain New York City’s working families face today,” said Mayor de Blasio.

"Anyone who has spent time with young children can see how ready and hungry they are for new words, new experiences, and new challenges," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "That is why we worked so hard to provide every four-year-old with access to free, high-quality early education, and that is why we are now taking this first step toward 3-K For All. Every child deserves access to the tools and support they need to learn and grow, and it is the best investment we can make to encourage their intellectual and emotional development."
"Expanding the City's focus on early education to high quality programs for three year olds, which follows the success of Pre-K for All, is a welcome enhancement to the New York City school system, and an addition that will serve to open classrooms to more local students than ever before. The City Council has been pleased to partner in support of universal pre-kindergarten placements for resident children, and as a representative of School District 7, I could not be more pleased to see this next phase begin right here in the South Bronx," said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“As a lifelong educator, I understand just how much and how fast our youngest children can learn – a level of learning that you can’t make up later on. In free, full-day, high-quality 3-K, our students will build their vocabulary, a love of learning, and start to develop the social and behavioral habits they need to succeed in pre-K and kindergarten. It’s an essential step in building Equity and Excellence for All across the five boroughs, and we are hitting the ground running with the lessons that we’ve learned from the Pre-K for All expansion,” said Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

“Over three years ago, New York City implemented a historic effort to make high quality, early childhood education available to every four-year-old in New York City. Today, Pre-K for All is one of the most successful expansions of any municipal pre-kindergarten program in the country and we are already witnessing it's tremendous impacts. Today, we announce the next great investment in the future of our City.  The City is deepening its commitment to the development of children's minds and bodies from birth to age five, including our plan to bring high quality, free, full day 3-K to all of NYC's three year olds.  With a growing body of research touting the lifelong developmental, social, and academic benefits of birth through five programming, I couldn’t be prouder to reach more children at an even earlier age with our next great program, 3-K for All,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.

“The benefits of early care and education programs have a clear and measurable impact on the health and wellness of children and communities as a whole,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services.  “By introducing 3K for All and strengthening programs in the birth to five continuum, New York City is ensuring that all children, including those who are most vulnerable, get a critical boost that will positively impact their lives for years to come.”

 “Since 2012, ACS’ EarlyLearn NYC has provided high quality full-day early care and education to over 30,000 children annually. Today, we join the next step in that vision through Equity and Excellence for all, fulfilling the City’s commitment to provide high-quality Pre-K to four-year-olds citywide. 3-K for All will ultimately strengthen a continuum of early care and education programs for the city’s children that begins at birth,” said ACS Commissioner David Hansell.

By fall of 2020, the City will expand free, full-day, high-quality 3-K to at least six additional school districts, for a total of eight districts. Each pair of districts will have a two-year expansion, with the last pair starting in fall of 2020 and having universal access in the fall of 2021. In order to achieve the vision of 3-K for All citywide, the City will need additional support from partners in the State and federal government.

The 3-K for All expansion coming to Districts 7 and 23 will cost $16 million in its first year, and builds on substantial Equity and Excellence for All educational investments in these two communities. The continuum includes the Single Shepherd program, which pairs every middle and high schooler in Districts 7 and 23 with a dedicated guidance counselor or social worker to support them on the path to high school graduation and college enrollment, as well as the Universal Literacy program, which will bring dedicated reading coaches to every elementary school in these districts this fall.

Like Pre-K for All, 3-K for All will be a unified system of DOE district schools and NYC Early Education Centers – community-based organizations experienced in providing high-quality early childhood education and care. Like Pre-K for All, the DOE will use data to provide differentiated support to all 3-K for All programs with instructional coaches and social workers to support high quality instruction. The City’s Pre-K for All outreach team, which helped triple the number of four-year-olds enrolled in free, full-day, high-quality pre-K, will also reach out to families in their own communities and in the language they speak to help them enroll in 3-K for All. 

There is extensive research supporting the transformative value of free, full-day, high-quality 3-K, 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.

According to the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, delivering 3-K for All to every three-year-old child in NYC will provide every eligible family an extra year of high-quality education, saving them an annual cost of over $10,000. Approximately one in four families who will take advantage of 3-K for All are likely to benefit from being able to work an average of four more hours per week, resulting in an estimated $2,400 in additional income per family.

As part of its commitment to free, full-day, high-quality 3-K for All, the City will also provide additional support to the public early childhood center programs currently serving  over 11,000 three-year-olds across the City, by bringing those classrooms into the same set of supports for teacher training, family engagement, and social work support as Pre-K for All. The Pre-K for All outreach team will also assist programs in enrolling children. These programs are currently part of EarlyLearn – the contracted-care and education system managed by the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) that includes Head Start centers, center-based childcare, and family childcare networks – and are available to families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

With support from ACS, Human Resources Administration (HRA), and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and a planning process involving providers and early childhood care and education experts, these programs will shift to management by DOE as part of 3-K for All, enabling consistent high-quality standards under a single agency by the fall of 2018. This will also provide greater curricular alignment through second grade, a single contracting relationship for early childhood education providers, integrated data collection, and seamless connections between early childhood development and 3K-12 education. EarlyLearn programs serving children from six-weeks-old through three-years-old will also shift to management by DOE.

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