NYC’s pre-K program will soon have seats for all children with disabilities who want one, mayor says
Mayor Eric Adams committed Tuesday to addressing a longstanding shortage of preschool seats for students with disabilities, with plans to open 800 more of those spots for 3- and 4-year-old children by this spring.
The mayor will boost pay for preschool special education teachers, who typically earn up to $20,000 less than their general education counterparts, officials said. The city will also increase the school day in these programs by an hour and 20 minutes, matching the hours for general education preschool programs.
Adams announced the changes at a press conference in which he sharply criticized the system under former Mayor Bill de Blasio, charging that the lack of access for hundreds of students with disabilities “was just wrong” and meant that New York City’s lauded universal preschool program was never truly universal.
“Children who need it more were receiving less,” Adams said. “That is just dysfunctional at its highest level.”