City of Chicago’s plan to rethink preschool enrollment system is welcome, Pacione-Zayas says
In taking another look at how parents enroll their children in preschool, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office is taking a step in the right direction to improve on a problematic enrollment system it instated in 2013, said Cristina Pacione-Zayas, Ph.D., director of policy for Erikson Institute.
“It’s evident that [the previous] centralization of enrollment presented barriers and challenges for families to access high-quality preschool,” she recently told Catalyst Chicago. “I’m pleased the city is rethinking how to do that, with having families and children at the center of their decision-making.”
Previously, the city’s efforts to centralize enrollment were met with criticism from parents, who felt that the need to register in person at a regional site rather than a more local school was inconvenient. Preschool enrollment declined as a result. The new system would incorporate online enrollment and establish a single application process for school-based programs and community-based programs that receive federal, local, or state funding.