New York City is enacting a program that offers free preschool for three year olds. This plan follows an earlier plan announced in 2013 as part of the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, plan to extend pre-school to four year olds.
The 2013 plan from de Blasio was a campaign promise that he made during his initial bid for Mayor. That program was popular and this new imitative would be extended to 62,000 children whose preschool was all funded with public funds. In the United States this would be the largest investment in education for three year old children.
In many ways, the greater investment in the education for children as young as three years old will yield significant research on education for children. Education researchers will be able to generate information regarding whether or not extending these programs to children is an effective use of money and if it has a significant impact on children long-term. The mayor has indicated that research shows that earlier education lead to higher salaries in the future for those students, partly due to younger students being able to absorb information quickly.
There may be extended reasons for this initiative by Bill de Blasio. In addition to the increased chance for election for de Blasio in his coming reelection campaign, the implementation of this additional education period will make de Blasio more noticeable nationally which may result in greater visibility for the possibility of national elections.
Voters may or may not like this initiative nationwide, though it is likely to be popular in New York City which has been traditionally a very liberal place. The problem is that a program like this will take a long time to manifest with results and the price tag is relatively expensive with close to $200 million in costs annually over the next four years. When the program is developed fully across the city it would approach total costs of almost $1 billion. A portion of this funding may come from state and federal sources, though with the current federal administration this funding may be hard to come by.
The new preschool program will be rolled out gradually starting with neighborhoods in the Bronx and Brooklyn, before being rolled out across the city.