June 6, 2008

Except There Are No Brooklyns

I know the big issue is really the pre-K admissions trauma, but still this is a useful snapshot of Williamsburg kid names circa 2004. Half the list could be from any yuppie enclave anywhere in the country:

Ms. Yourke added: “I am not going to tell Coral that she will not go to the same school as Sachie, Sophie, Elizabeth, Silas, Slava, Hayley, Audrey, Katelyn and her sister Olive — not until I absolutely have to.”
Parents Find Frustration With Process at Schools [nyt]
previously: NYC Pre-K SNAFU WTF?


Can you translate this a little for those of us out here in the boonies? The notion that your child should need to "apply" to a public pre-K program seems a little crazy to me.

I get that some public schools in NYC are better than others, and that some parents might want their child to go to a school in a different neighborhood because they feel that school is better, but shouldn't the default for these little little kids be that they enroll in their neighborhood school and only would need to apply elsewhere if they wanted to go out of zone? Or am I missing something?

[part of the problem was a change in the application system, replacing the hodgepodge of local camp-out-overnight applications with a central one. But the assignment algorithm apparently screwed up, missing neighborhood, twin, and sibling prioritization. Then add underfunding and gentrification issues, and it could get ugly. In Williamsburg, there was actually approval for a new, "separate but equal" school inside the bldg of the local elementary school. Until the mostly hispanic PTA found out about the plan. -ed.]


In addition to greg's factors, there's also a massive baby boom going on in NYC right now, in both Manhattan and "brownstone Brooklyn." A generation ago, when yuppies had kids, they moved to the burbs. Not so any more, so there's a bad shortage of pre-schools and kindergarten slots compared to the increased number of kids.

Meanwhile, what is it with people naming their kids Sophie? I have five or six friends from completely different parts of my life who have all named their daughters Sophie in the last couple years.

I live in Washington, DC. My child attends pre k at a public school and we had to apply for a spot as inbounds residents. Pre K is not mandatory, therefore the school is not required to and does not have funding to accept every child, like they must for K-12th. So with 30 spots for Pre k3 and 40 for pre k4, there is an application and then a lottery to get a spot. The application is just to sort out in bounds from out of bounds and sibling priority to get your lottery number.

Many NYC publics (perhaps the majority) don't have pre-K programs, necessitating applications.

Incidentally, although I take your point about names...I know Kate Yourke. She's lived (and worked, as an artist) in Williamsburg for over 20 years. Of the many downtown/Brooklyn parents I know, she and her husband perhaps fit the description of "yuppie" least of any of them. (That's not to say that yuppies are not using the names Coral and Olive.)

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