Representatives of more than 30 New York City Jewish day schools and yeshivas convened this week at a community forum sponsored by OU Advocacy-Teach NYS to voice their frustrations about New York City’s universal pre-K (UPK) program and suggest ways the program could be improved. OU Advocacy-Teach NYS is working with state and city legislators to enhance the program for non-public schools and ensure the greatest utilization of the program by Jewish day schools and yeshivas.
Participating schools represented a wide cross-section of the city’s Jewish schools, including Solomon Schechters, modern Orthodox schools and yeshivas.
Almost every school representative expressed his or her dissatisfaction with the length of the UPK day and the difficulty of providing religious education outside of UPK hours. Other issues the group discussed included half-day program options, state funding versus city funding, and the application process.
Council Members David Greenfield and Mark Levine joined the community forum so that they could understand the needs of the schools.
“We care about giving every child in the city a great start at education,” said Council Member Levine, who added that the Jewish Caucus in City Council is a “united front” on this issue. He is the Chairman of the Jewish Caucus.
Council Member Greenfield added, “We will keep fighting for our yeshivas and days schools until your children have the same access to UPK as public school children.”