N.J.’s new eligiblity rules for summer educational programs to save $7M, make system more ‘equitable’
August 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
On his last day of pre-kindergarten, Misael Rivas left his classroom at the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Center in Union City heartbroken.
“He’s a little troublemaker,” said Kilcenia Rondon, the 4-year-old’s mother. “But he kept saying, ‘I miss my school, I’m lonely.’”
Fortunately for Misael, his summer vacation lasted only eight days before he was back in class as one of 90 children attending the Hostos Center’s summer preschool session. The free program is one of dozens of summer preschools started in New Jersey’s poorest districts in 1998, in response to a decision by the state Supreme Court in the ongoing Abbott v. Burke case.
The court mandated free preschool for the state’s poorest districts to equalize educational opportunities and close achievement gaps. But the state went further, adding a set of “wraparound” services — including 10-hour school days, health screenings and six weeks of free preschool in the summer — for any family living in one of the 31 low-income Abbott districts.
This fall, the state is cutting back the program. Only the poorest families will be able to apply for the wraparound services and starting in September parents will have to prove for the first time they either have a job or are in school, according to new rules at the state Department of Health and Human Services. READ MORE…
(A version of this story was published in the Newark Star Ledger.)