Puncture the Preschool Balloon

The Asbury Park Press editorializes today that the State should reverse its mandate for public preschools for poor children (who don’t live in Abbott districts, where they already have free preschool). The Berkeley School District is planning on meeting with Education Commissioner Lucille Davy on Monday to push their case that such a mandate is unaffordable, especially in light of recent cuts in State aid, and that the DOE and Corzine should back off. The Press goes further, arguing that the whole concept should be trashed:

The idea of putting 3- and 4-year-olds on school buses in the morning then sending them into an educational setting for seven hours requires far more extensive debate than it received before being railroaded through by the Corzine administration last year. Many parents who now choose to send their children to private preschools opt for two- to three-hour classes and for only two or three days per week. That’s plenty of time to learn letters, numbers and colors to prepare for kindergarten.

Berkeley officials should take some deep breaths. The odds of Corzine holding fast to this mandate are low: the State originally promised each district $11,000 per preschooler, and that money’s long gone. All that’s left is for the DOE to admit the obvious.

What do you think?

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