May 29, 2008

NYC Pre-K SNAFU WTF?

Except for the part about thousands of parents getting thousands of letters telling them their kids didn't get into any of the programs of their choice, I can't figure out what the hell is going on with the NYC Schools' new Pre-K application system. And from the wishy-washy explanations in this NY Times story, the Department of Education doesn't sound like they know, either.

Does anyone in New York City know where his kid's going to preschool next year?

Pre-K System Faulted as Confusing to Parents [nyt]

3 Comments

greg, words cannot describe what i am feeling at the moment. we listed five schools in and around our neighborhood and we got our rejection letter on sat telling us there were no slots at all for our daughter. WTF. really? im supposed to call them on june 23rd to fill out another application. and here is the worst part (after sitting in the parent coodinators office at our zoned school) they are planning on doing the same application system for kindergarden!!!!!! a double WTF. the difference? well, they can't guarantee a slot for pre-k but they have to for kindergarden ...but not in your zone. so the school that i can throw a rock at is now not even 100% for kindergarden. if there are no slots then they will assign one that could be in sunset park for all i know. the only thing the parent coordinator told me what that she thinks it has nothing to do with zones or priority (siblings or zoned) but that it has everything to do with economic status and ethnicity of the kids in order to balance out all public schools. (but again, this was just her opinion) SHE ALSO GAVE ME THE DIRECT PHONE NUMBER TO MARTY BARR 212-374-5473

Rest assured this is not unique to NYC. We went through the same crazyness with our school system in Savannah, GA. Although we live a few blocks from a good Pre-K to grade 8 school, our nightmare zoned school is halfway across town. You have to drive past like 3 other schools to get to it. And don't even get me started on the whole Pre-K lottery business. As we say Down South, OY!

The SF lottery is even more of a blast, although it's not pre-K but kindergarten. In round 1 you can pick 7 schools you'd like, but you might not get any. In round 2 ditto. I have a friend who didn't get any of her 14 (!) listed choices this year. Her son got assigned to a school that is as far as it is possible to be from their home and still technically be within city limits, in the opposite direction from where she and her husband work. They have no car. SF does not bus. So the city expects them to take him on an hour-plus Muni ride every morning and afternoon, at which point they can turn around and take a 90 minute+ Muni ride to the office. They'll have just enough time for a quick lunch before heading back to pick him up after school. Awesome!

They are seeking a hardship waiver, not that it would guarantee them a slot at a closer school, and trying to find a Catholic school that is still accepting applicants. Their son has been hearing about where all his friends are going to kindergarten and she says he asks her every night where he is going to school next year. It is beyond horrible.

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