Friday, May 30

Post your pre-K solutions here


Some of the soon-to-be pre-K parents commenting on this blog are working through their anger and frustration about the admissions problems by generating possible solutions for them. If the DOE aims to make things right for the families it shortchanged — and I believe that is the DOE's intention — officials will likely need to think creatively. Perhaps they can use Bronx_Shrink's proposal for inspiration:

I think there may be one way in which a fraction of the wrongfully rejected parents can be appeased. The city offers child care vouchers to low income families. If they are unable to correct this and place kids properly, according to priority, perhaps some families can be offered vouchers to be used in private day cares. Before the tomatoes start flying, I know this will not be the answer for most parents as they carefully chose schools that match their educational values. However, it might be good compensation for some other families to get them through another year of childcare costs.
Do you have a better plan? Post yours. Pie-in-the-sky ideas are welcome, but practical solutions are even more welcome.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

My school went from two full day pre-k classes this year to one full day next year (they needed the extra classroom for older kids). Rather than giving us one full day, they should convert to 2 half days, effectively servicing double the children. "Should" is the operative word - not sure if it will ever happen, but it should, since it will solve a big part of the problem there.

maggiemae said...

Clearly, they should stop the registration process NOW and redo the whole selection process. If they start registering parents next week, they will have even more mistakes to undo than they do today.

Another thought--just let the schools do it as usual this year. The old way was presumably flawed, but the new way is even worse.

New Coke anyone???!!

Denise in Brooklyn said...

Here is my 2 cents:

1. DOE stop pre-registration and declare a "mistrial" ASAP.

2. Set a period for all siblings to go and register directly at their respective schools.

3. Start collecting applications from the next priority group ONLY. Verify that all applicants truly meet the priority criteria. After sibling registration, hold a lottery with just the next priority group and set a period for these folks to register.

4. Take the remaining seats after priority groups 1 & 2 have been accommodated and then hold an open lottery.

Alternatively, the DOE can turn it back over to the schools, who should do as I outlined above: enroll siblings first and then do a lottery for those in-zone. If any unfilled seats remain, open it up for another lottery.

I understand why the DOE wanted to centralize the process - to try and make it fair for all. What they didn't realize is that they could have corrected the already functioning system by mandating the priority list and timeline be followed by all schools. This would stop the madness of first-come, first-served (camping out all night etc) and admitting children of staff and friends over siblings and zoned children.

Bronx_shrink said...

I think Denise's solution makes absolute sense. That's how it should have been done in the first place with the process beginning in the late winter, thus giving parents ample time to make alternate plans if necessary. Next year perhaps?

roxy19757 said...

Help! has anyone not yet received the Pre K acceptance letter? I haven't received the letter today as of close of business today! I called the Student Enrollment office (212-374-4948) and left a message, I'm waiting for a phone call. I emailed their office and have not gotten a prompt response yet. I am so upset! I am thinking of going in person to the Department of Education to find some answers... Help!

Anonymous said...

I haven't received any letters for my son's pre-k seat due to Friday 05/30/08.I don't want to miss the pre-registration .I live in District 28 and my first choice is P.S. 303 which is a new school this year. I tried to call them , but nobaby answered the phone. Could you please tell me what I should do

Anonymous said...

Did you try calling the parent coordinator at the school as well? I haven't received a letter yet, but was able to confirm that my daughter has a spot by calling the parent coordinator.

Anonymous said...

i have not yet rec'd a letter either. I called the parent coordinator for my 1st choice school, but she wasnt able to tell me anything. I dont know what else to do....

Anonymous said...

Here's my suggestion: bend over and take it.

Sincerely,
Joel Klein

Anonymous said...

The best ideas I've heard (aside from the doover), are 1) give all families that should have gotten in and didn't vouchers for private schools and even better 2) Take the majority of classes and change to 1/2 day, thus increasing the number of seats enough to accomodate everyone. Yes, parents who got seats will complain-but it's fairer. It's universal prek afterall and should be available to all. And many states do 1/2 days even for kindergarten, so it won't hurt the kids.

Anonymous said...

Where does anyone think one would be able to use "vouchers for private schools"? It's not like there are any spaces available at this point. Or is that a suggestion from someone who has a private school spot already on hold but was hoping to drop it for a free spot in the public school, and now is mad they have to pony up the 12 grand after all? Ridiculous waste of tax payers money, when the DOE is already slashing school budgets.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 'Denise in Brooklyn' - the schools need to take over this one and clean up DOE's mess.
DOE needs to stop ALL registration ASAP.
In my child's school (PS10 in Brooklyn), OSEPO has called them and told them to stop all pre-registration for out-of-zone kids without siblings. Is that enough, though, I wonder?

In my opinion centralizing the admissions process was always a bad idea. The unfairness factor came from the first-come first-serve frenzy as described by 'Denise in Brooklyn'. I'm all for streamlining and making it fair for the parents, bypassing the different deadlines that each school had before. Mandating a streamlined timeline for all schools: deadlines for applications and acceptance letters etc. is the way to go, but the schools need to still have the authority to admit their own students. Otherwise when problems crop up, as they always will, they grow to such enormous proportions as is evidenced in this case of the "Pre-K Mess of 2008".

Let's hope there will be no "Kindergarten Mess of 2009"!!

-mother of a rejected pre-K'er with sibling

Anonymous said...

I have not yet received a letter for my sone either. But I call to the school that I pick both school told me that they don't have my son name on it. What should I do now? Where can he go?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Denise and Anonymous at 10:21 PM - the process needs to revert to the schools at this point and basically be redone. The DOE went too far with centralization and they made things worse rather better. How can we get the DOE to a fair solution?

Bronx_shrink said...

For the person who had a Q about vouchers:

They are for use at many day care centers around the city as well as with individual day care providers and group family day care (e.g. two or more providers offering child care from their home). In fact, I currently use a group family day care provider because at $150/week, that was my least expensive option. 12 grand a year? Are you kidding me? The $150 a week is killing our budget! And yes, my daughter can continue at her day care (not an elite private pre-k, I might add) if public school pre-k does not work out. Sadly, we really can't afford to keep her there for much longer. I'm sorry you're so angry and think that I'm someone who should be a target. I'm just a struggling "middle class" parent trying to make ends meet and trying to think of ways that this can be resolved. Can you offer another solution? Also, FYI vouchers come from money budgeted to the Administration for Children's Services, not the DOE (someone please correct me if I am mistaken on this).

maggiemae said...

http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/PreK/default.htm

Here is the link to the DOE FAQ page. There is an email address on it.

http://schools.nyc.gov/ChoicesEnrollment/NewStudents/BEO+Contact+Information.htm

Here is a page with phone #s for Borough Enrollment Offices. They can give you info.

I'm in District 15. The office I called was very helpful.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Is everyone planning on heading to the borough offices on June 23rd?

I heard there was an outside company who came in for the selection process . Has anyone heard about this? I just don't understand why high tax payers have so fewer Pre-k options than the lower tax payers. We are all working just the same.

Anonymous said...

It would be great if somehow the DOE would use this mistake as an opportunity to come up with a creative solution. Yes this will mean they have to cough up some money to solve the problem. But wouldn't it be cool if they explored untraditional options. Some ideas: a Montesorri approach involving mixing grades in order to free up classrooms in schools where this could help...Or working with outside cultural institutions, that could use an infusion of city funding, to take in maybe some of the older classrooms so that one or more pre-k classes could be added to the schools. The city got creative with the problem they had in placing the Ross School. Why can't they get creative quickly to solve this problem too? I don't know that 4 year olds need school. But they do need socializing and security and a nice way to enter school to be ready to learn for kindergarten. Maybe the city could fund small groups of families who want to join together to hire a teacher to teach pre-k at a family's home.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think your comments sound a little over the top? You want them to take time, teachers, and energy away from older kids who are going through test prep that could possibly have them being left back so that 4 year old can socialize?? Wake up! As the mother of a 3rd grader and a child starting Pre-k this fall, if my only option was that I would forgo Pre-k. Shame on you

Anonymous said...

8:08 - who said taking anything away from older kids? Why can't both sets of students be served? But I for one don't think that school should be spending time with children teaching test prep. To me that's not learning. It's just sad that this system of "education" feeds itself. The tests are supposed to judge the level of the education the kids are receiving...not just forcing teachers to teach test prep. That's just covering a teacher or a principal's back. Sad that parents are sold this bill of goods by the DOE that says your kids should just learn what the tests judge. That's why arts and science funding has been severly cut by principals...they aren't tested subjects in our city schools. How sad.