De Blasio: NYC Has Met Its Pre-K Goal of 53,000 Tots

NEW YORK (AP/Hamodia) -

Marking a milestone of his 10-month-old administration’s signature issue, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday the city has met its goal of enrolling more than 53,000 children in full-day prekindergarten classes.

De Blasio said that the pre-K program that has been his signature issue is “changing children’s lives.”

The mayor marked the milestone at a Lower Manhattan pre-K classroom, along with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“We are well on our way to providing every child with the right start in their education, so they can succeed in school and in life,” said de Blasio, who also tied education for the youngest to his battle with income inequality.

According to numbers released by the city Wednesday, there are now 53,230 full-day pre-K seats, up from 19,163 last year. This includes 17,152 in Brooklyn, the most of the five boroughs, to 3,120 in Staten Island. Children are learning at nearly 1,700 sites at public schools and community-based early childhood centers, including dozens of yeshivos.

Deputy Mayor Richard Buery acknowledged that pre-K classes at some sites had more applications than they could accommodate while other sites still have space.

He said adjustments will be made next year, when plans call for every eligible child — some 73,000 — to have a pre-K placement.