Cyperstein Calls on City of New York: Bring 3-K For All Childhood Services To District 29

Cyperstein Calls on City of New York: Bring 3-K For All Childhood Services To District 29

Earlier this month Mayor de Blasio announced a New York City Department of Education program to
expand the 3-K For All Childhood Services into neighborhoods hardest hit by the Covid pandemic. This
list fails to include the areas of Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Richmond Hill that were once included in
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s red and orange zone ZIP code map. Avi Cyperstein (D-City Council candidate,
District 29) expressed outrage at the proposal plan, “Our neighborhoods were labeled as the hardest hit
and not being included is an inexcusable error.”
Since the announcement, Cyperstein has spoken with school administrators and parents of affected
youth who all shared similar concerns. “Early childhood programs are a pivotal support system for the
children and families of Queens in their time of need. We must continue to expand access for early
childhood education and invest in our youngsters as they start off in life,” said Cyperstein.
Cyperstein then held a press conference on March 10 on the steps of P.S. 99 Annex at the intersection of
Kew Gardens Road and Lefferts Boulevard along with community activists and leaders where he made a
verbal request for the City of New York to include former red and orange zoned areas in the expanded 3K
project.
“As COVID recovery becomes the main topic for the future of our city, it is sad and unacceptable to me
that our district was left out of the 3K program which would help us recover tremendously,” decried
Cyperstein.
Those in attendance echoed his concerns explaining that any area indicated as hardest hit should be
eligible for 3K. “We are not even eligible to apply,” said one mother with her soon to be three-year-old
son in hand as she walked off to a babysitter. This mom had just been offered a job after having been laid
off at the start of the pandemic.
Cyperstein persisted with the question, “Why were we left out?” When this City mentions areas that
have been hardest hit by COVID-19, all programming should include the ZIP codes of council district 29:
11374 (Rego Park, Queens, NY), 11375 (Forest Hills, Queens, NY), 11415 (Kew Gardens, Queens, NY), and
11418 (Richmond Hill, Queens, NY). “It must not be forgotten that these areas were subject to
specialized rules that shuttered businesses deemed non-essential on a prolonged schedule, including
regulations for schools and dining,” added Cyperstein. Parents gathered by P.S. 99 were dismayed that
local government failed to make the areas labeled hardest hit by COVID-19 eligible for 3K. They repeated
Cyperstein’s sentiment, “Why can’t we get 3K! This is not equitable. We were red and orange zoned with
businesses being forced to close and our local economy has been shattered.”
Over the days that followed, Cyperstein met more families who await a change that would allow 3K to
come to their neighborhood. Parents still hold out hope that the City will reverse their decision and bring
the major help of a 3K expansion to city council district 29 (School District 28) as part of the recovery
effort and stand by the proposal for new contracts that calls for “a more unified, equitable system for the
City’s youngest learners” that contain crucial benefits for children, families and programs. Cyperstein
gathered these families and their neighbors to sign a petition
(https://www.change.org/p/mayor-de-blasio-bring-3k-programming-to-forest-hills-rego-park-kew-garden
s-richmond-hill) that garnered a hundred signatures in mere hours. Looking back to the summer, Queens was identified as the borough most affected by COVID-19, yet still
has the fewest hospitals per capita. Then as fall set in, Rego Park was mentioned to have increased
positivity rates, despite overall city rates decreasing during the same time. A similar phenomenon played
out throughout the district as various areas were “painted” red, orange, and yellow zones, subjected to
measures that devastated a slew of businesses beyond repair.
Cyperstein reached out to the Dept. of Education and has yet to receive a reply to his inquiry.
“Simple research on early childhood will prove that institutional preschool is superior both socially and
academically to childcare,” concluded Cyperstein.

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