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Monday, April 16, 2012

Kindergarten wait list crisis continues: what we know and don't know

The Kindergarten waiting lists were released, and they are nearly as long as last year.  See map below and chart to the right. (You can also compare to last year's maps, though they are not directly comparable; more on this below.)

According to DOE, there are  2406 zoned Kindergarten children wait-listed for their zoned neighborhood school this year, compared to 2588 last year.  (The reason last year's figure differs slightly from the one reported in the media is because I removed the double-counting of PS 3 and PS 41 wait lists,which they share; the DOE double-counted them last year but not this.)

Here is a brief summary: 21 districts have wait lists for Kindergarten.   The districts with the longest waiting lists are D24 in Queens (454); D2 in Manhattan (330); D15 in Brooklyn (270); and D25 (175); D30 (152); and D28 (151), all in Queens.

As usual,  Queens is the most overcrowded borough , with the total number of wait-listed zoned children larger than last year, as in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  The schools with the longest wait lists are in Brooklyn and Queens, and these schools are all more overcrowded than last year as well.

Now for what we don't know:

  • This year, the DOE refused to tell us how many siblings were on wait lists, though they did this the last two years, making one suspect that this number is even larger than the total of 3036 sibs plus zoned K students there were in 2011 at this time.
  • Nor do we know how long the overall waiting lists really are, including non-zoned students, which likely total many thousands more.  Meanwhile, the charter lobby as well as DOE always publicize the thousands of students on the charter waiting lists, in order to  rationalize unfettered charter expansion, but the public has never been able to know how many children there are on waiting lists for our regular public schools. 
  • Nor do we know in how many schools class sizes will have to rise to or above the contractual level to make room for all these new students; how many new Kindergarten sections will have to be added, leading to larger class sizes in the upper grades, or how many preK programs, art and science rooms and other specialty or intervention spaces will be eliminated.  
  • Nor will we ever find out how many families will decide to move out of the city because of the stress and the uncertainty of not knowing where their children will attend school next year.
At the same time, nearly 5,000 Kindergarten students tested "gifted" this year, with vanishing little space to put them. Because of overcrowding, there are also far fewer between zone or district transfers now than in the pre-Bloomberg era, when this method of parent "choice" allowed for more diversity, especially in middle class neighborhoods.    Now this option has been nearly entirely shut down, with the overcrowding conveniently playing into the hands of the charter lobby, the corporate reform crowd, and Bloomberg's preference for charters: fewer "choices" remain, except for charter schools run by private corporations.

If you point at the map, you can see the name of the school and the number of zoned students on the wait list.   If your child is on a wait list for next year, or you have any more information about the real figures, including siblings or non-zoned waitlisted children, please add this below.  thanks!

125 schools, 2406 zoned Kindergarten children as of March 2012:


Benita Rivera said...

As always, your information is excellent. Thank you for providing this service, along with the very cool interactive map feature for NYC's parents.

Just a working mom said...

Please sign our petition to open more schools in downtown !as the problem is getting worse every year. All schools in the area have waitlists, even peck slip in its first year of operation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this info. As a parent whose child was wait listed last year, I want to point out that "choice" is not granted in the alternative offer process. The DOE specifically told us that it's not a choice process but we should consider sending our child to a charter school.

Leonie Haimson said...

anonymous; please contact me off list at I'd like to hear more. thanks!

Anonymous said...

This is really freaking me out. A parent of a daughter who will be entering Kindergarden next year, this really concerns me because my neighborhood doesn't have charter schools. And I can't spend my day going all over Brooklyn/ Queens/ Manhattan to drop her off and pick her up. These are hardly CHOICES!

Anonymous said...

It is a very bad situation to be in and most importantly our kids are in the middle of it. My son is in pre-k in his zoned school that he is on the waitlist for. He is expecting to go there next year with all his friends and now I am not sure what to tell him. He is a smart boy and he gathers that something is going on, so he keeps asking where he is going to school next year. The person from DOE I got to talk to told me that I should look into private schools, can you imagine this...first of all it is too late to look into this, but may be not everytbody in NYC can pay $40K to send their 4 years old to private schoool even if I really want to..

Anonymous said...

Also, there is waitlist for Peck Slip in the Financial District. The school is not even open yet, but they already have either 7 or 9kids on the waitlist. The other school that was just opened last year, Spruce Street, is the only one that does not have a waitlist, but is to capacity so is not going to take any of the 100 kids that are on the waitlist in BPC/Financial District area.

Leonie Haimson said...

Any parent who was told by DOE to apply to charters or private schools, pl. contact me off list at


Anonymous said...

Please read and sign our petition to Stop illegal school applications, Forest Hills, Queens PS196

hilda dada said...
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