To the editor:
For many, the end of summer is a bittersweet time. It marks the beginning of fall, cooler weather, and most importantly, the start of the school year.
As a teacher, the new school year marks a time of promise and potential as I get to know my new students and see how much my formers students had grown over the summer.
For the first time, I get to experience the first-day jitters of a parent as my twins will start pre-K this year. I’m nervous for them — how they’ll do in a new environment, making friends, and adjusting to a new schedule. Like all parents sending their children off to school, we want to see our children thrive in their schools, and want to ensure they are getting the best education possible.
It is empowering to know that our city’s universal pre-K program is one of its most important educational opportunities, and we are beginning to see how impactful it has been. Pre-K programs met or exceeded a threshold that predicts positive student outcomes.
And although test results should not be viewed as the sole marker for success, results published a few weeks ago show that more New York City students passed their state exams this year than last, with this year’s third graders being the first class to go through the universal pre-K program.
And fully expanding the city’s 3-K program will have an even greater impact on the success of our children, in addition to supporting our working families.
While we should celebrate the success of our pre-K program, we also need solutions for the problems facing our students in kindergarten through 12th grade. From mental health support to after-school activities to specialized programs for individual needs, there are numerous areas where we must improve.
Having enough honors classes and enough services for students with disabilities remains a challenge in many schools. Our students’ education is not confined to just the classroom — after-school programs, libraries and community centers are all critically important to giving families the support they need to access additional educational opportunities.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a catch-all fix, and we will need to work together — parents, educators, community members and leaders — to support our students and teachers.
As a parent, educator, union member, community leader and candidate for city council, I am eager to continue fighting for the programs our students need to thrive.