City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says kindergarten should be mandatory for all 5-year-olds. In her State of the City address Quinn, who co-sponsored the Insideschools' event on applying to public elementary school this week, said she is working with the state legislature to get a law passed which would allow New York City to make kindergarten compulsory.
All children who turn five years old this year are guaranteed a seat in kindergarten although they do not have to attend school until they turn six and enter 1st grade. Some parents prefer to keep their children home or to send them to childcare centers that offer more hours of care. Some overcrowded schools have even been known to discourage parents from enrolling their children, reminding them that kindergarten is optional.
According to Quinn's office, a change in the law would bring in an additional 3,000 kindergartners into the public school system, representing about 4% of the city's five-year-olds.
“Every year nearly 3,000 5-year-olds in New York City don’t enroll in kindergarten. That means thousands of kids enter first grade every year having never set foot in a classroom. Many of them are kids who need kindergarten the most," Quinn said in her speech.
Quinn's office said the city's schools are prepared to accept the influx of 3,000 more students, despite overcrowding and kindergarten waitlists at some schools.
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