I really enjoy little children. So must Bill de Blasio in New York City. His universal full day preK program enrolls more children than in any other state except Georgia. All four-year-olds have access to preschool. All income levels participate.
Recruiters went door to door to enroll children in every demographic group. He had to add 2,000 teachers. It costs money, over $10,000 per student. Florida enrolls large numbers of PreK students, but its program is only 3 hours per day and is funded a little more than $2,000 per student. The standards and quality are very uneven.
Quality is more important than quantity. In NYC, there are coaches to help teachers become more effective. The pedagogy is research-based ‘learn through play’. It is fun to read the NY Times article about how students learn all there is to know about apples.
Data informs instruction, and university faculty are crunching the numbers. This is not an end of the year accountability approach. Rather, data come in consistently to inform teachers about what is working and where improvement needs to be made.
It is heartening to read the story. When priorities are right, good things are possible.