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New York City currently has about 20,000 children in full-day pre-K and 26,000 in half-day pre-K, with some in public elementary schools and others in community-based organizations such as Head Start.

As it expands toward its goal of 73,000 full-day pre-K seats by fall 2015, the city will again call on community-based organizations to supplement the available classroom space in public schools.

About 1,000 new teachers will be hired for the public school and community-based pre-K slots by next fall. Each teacher must have a bachelor’s degree and be on track to get a master’s and early childhood certification.

Critics worry that the community-based pre-K programs will range from well-designed classes that prepare children for future success to poorly taught baby-sitting services.

“The key question is about the quality,” said Elizabeth Lynam, vice president of the Citizens Budget Commission, a nonprofit watchdog organization. “When it’s not of a certain standard there are no benefits, or no long-lasting benefits.”

Elizabeth Hartline, the education director at Bank Street Head Start, warned in a Feb. 6 op-ed column on radio station WNYC’s website that pre-K can be “shockingly bad” at some community-based organizations.

Hartline said she has heard stories “of movies watched regularly during the school day, of teachers who spend much of the day texting while children play, of teachers left alone in classrooms to tend to 20 children for hours.”

De Blasio supporters say the administration will be able to deliver pre-K classes that are more than day care - and will evaluate teachers to see if they’re performing.

“I feel hopeful,” said Randi Levine, the early childhood project director for Advocates for Children of New York, a nonprofit that is helping to spread the word about pre-K. “This is a very ambitious plan, and we’re glad it’s ambitious because children are only 4 years old once.”

Ruth Arsenec, a mother of two from Staten Island, took a day off from her job in a physical therapist’s office to take part in a pre-K lobbying trip to the state Capitol in Albany last month.

Arsenec said she’s glad she had free pre-K for her daughter last year and is looking forward to enrolling her son next fall.

Her daughter, Makayla, visited a firehouse and learned to spell her first and last name at her community-based pre-K program. Now Makayla is thriving in kindergarten at a neighborhood public school, her mother said.

“She made the honor roll,” Arsenec said. “I never knew that kindergarten had an honor roll!”