Why Free 3-K Is So Crucial for New York City Parents

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. Today we’ll look at the effects of cuts to the city’s 3-K program. We’ll also get details on why the former finance chief of the Trump Organization is going back to jail.

Credit…Laila Stevens for The New York Times

For nearly a decade, every 4-year-old in New York has been eligible for a free prekindergarten seat, and 3-year-olds were next in line. With many families spending more than $30,000 a year on child care for a single toddler, the program was intended to make an increasingly unaffordable city somewhat more reasonable. But after Mayor Eric Adams made cuts to free preschool for 3-year-olds, lower- and middle-income families faced enormous uncertainty. I asked Troy Closson, who covers education in New York City, to explain the situation.

A lot of parents assumed that 3-K would mean they wouldn’t have to pay for child care. What now?

That is the question that families are asking.

It’s not just lowest-income New Yorkers who are struggling. Even solidly middle-class and upper-middle-class people are struggling with child care and housing costs that are unaffordable. We’ve already begun to see the composition of the city change. A year ago, our colleague Nicole Hong and I were talking to middle-class Black families who had left New York. The common theme was it was too challenging to raise kids here.

The pressures that drove those families away have only increased since then, and that directly affects the future of the city.

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