Reports and administration, from New York City, are in talks to allow prayer back into the classroom. Mayor Bill de Blasio is behind the initiative and is hopeful that the prayer breaks will help to narrow the economic gap. Last year 53,000 children enrolled in the pre-K program in New York City. With the high enrollment rates, the administration is hopeful that the numbers will continue to grow – with a goal of 70,000 enrollees this year.
Mayor de Blasio hopes to increase the participation of these religious schools, especially those belonging to the Orthodox Jews – which is a growing part of the city's overall population.
Many religious groups are voicing out against the program due to faith oriented reasoning and the enrollment declines that private schools, in the NYC area, will affect. The city is not breaking any laws, and is hopeful that their initiatives will help create better opportunities for the children while giving them the option of prayer breaks.
Contrary to many reports that have speculated on costs, the administration has confirmed and publically stated that the taxpayers will not have to pay for the prayer break and it will not affect the education curriculum that the students will be taught during regular school hours. Civil liberties groups are objecting because public schools are publically funded classrooms, claiming that the prayer breaks are violating the U.S. Constitution.
The proposal also states that the pre-K classes will be permitted to take a break in the middle of the school day in order to implement "non-program" activities like prayer. The schools will also have the chance to be open six days out of the week in order to make up for the classroom hours they will devote to faith-based teachings.
The verdict is still out as to whether or not the proposal will get the green light to implement the prayer breaks next school year.