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Is New York City subsidizing exclusive preschools?

Some say a program offering loans to middle-class parents to pay for private preschool is subsidizing private schools rather than investing in public ones.

Maddy Sauer of MSN News

At the Avenues private school in Manhattan, nursery school students can frolic on the rooftop playground, begin learning a second language and celebrate holidays from around the world. For 3-year-olds to embark on this comprehensive introduction to education, their parents will pay a jaw-dropping $41,650 a year.

New York City has long been known for its alarmingly expensive and extremely competitive preschools, so perhaps it's not surprising that a new city initiative is helping middle-class parents foot the bill for early education. But some say the initiative is subsidizing exclusive private schools and encouraging parents to take out loans for a basic expense, The New York Observer reports.

In announcing the plan, City Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn said, "Early childhood education is one of the most important investments a parent can make."

Quinn said this program, called the Middle Class Child Care Loan Initiative, is the first in the country designed to specifically help middle-class parents, but some are questioning why the city is subsidizing exclusive private schools rather than investing in public ones.

"The problem is that there are not nearly enough public pre-K spots to go around for anyone, regardless of income," writes Jessica Grose in Slate.

Others are asking if it's even a good idea for parents to begin borrowing for their child's education at such an early age, when the average student loan debt in the United States is already more than $23,000 per borrower, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

To qualify for the program, applicants must earn between $80,000 and $200,000 a year, according The Observer, and they can borrow up to $11,000 for children aged 2 to 4.

Courtesy of: MSN News

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