• The New York Times

An Online Preschool Closes a Gap but Exposes Another

Updated: May 15


It is not a program for children of the rich. It is geared to lower-income families who have fewer prekindergarten options.

Several Democratic presidential contenders have universal prekindergarten prominently on their agendas. But the arrival of the digital preschool alternative raises questions about education quality and what exactly preschool is meant to teach. As the economic chasm in the United States grows, who gets access to human interaction is becoming a stark dividing line through every stage of life.

“Children who come from families of means have always gone to and still go to terrific quality pre-K programs,” said Nancy Carlsson-Paige, a co-founder of Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit campaign promoting universal pre-K. “Any program, you see the same thing — it’s kids engaged with teachers, blocks, paints and other kids. It’s all these things that everybody knows is quality.”

Not surprisingly, many early-education experts balk at the idea of preschool online. Full Story