My daughter just turned three. She has a January birthday. I work as a substitute teacher and I thought it would be great for her to have some socialization and attend preschool. So I started researching pre-schools in Brooklyn.
The most affordable preschool I could find was $1100 a month for five days a week 8am-4pm. Yes, you read correctly, over a grand a month. For $1100 in New York City you could rent a studio apartment in Ditmas Park or a one bedroom place in Clinton Hill.
Something is wrong with this picture. Let’s take it a step further. If you multiply $1100 by 12 months, you have the annual tuition for a “reasonably priced” preschool: $13,200 per year. Now, visit the website for the State University of New York – Albany. Annual tuition to attend SUNY Albany is $10,366.
In New York City, it costs more to let a three-year-old socialize with other three-year-olds then it does to educate a college student. This is mind blowing. And it’s not only about the cost. Let’s say that I was able to pay $1100 a month to put my daughter in preschool, there’s a wait list to get her in. Nursery schools are as coveted as some of the most prestigious liberal arts colleges.
For example, my three-year-old daughter is currently on the wait list of at least three different pre-schools because there are no available slots for her. Should a place open up, these schools are more than happy to take my $1100-$1400 per month to teach my daughter how to share and build with blocks.
Something has got to change. I understand that to keep society working properly, we (as parents) need to engage in at least part-time (if not full-time work) however, charging what is comparable to a college tuition to educate toddlers is completely absurd.
The question is, what do we do about this problem? I have chosen to primarily work from home and on the days that I’m substitute teaching, my family watches my daughter. Other parents living and working in New York City do not have this option. Most parents work full-time and are forced to place their children in daycare or pre-school that is exorbitantly priced.
I will continue to avoid sending my little girl to pre-school for the next year. In 2015, she will attend Universal Pre-K which is free through New York City.