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Embracing the Gift Horse

At racetrack Belmont Park on Long Island, there’s a lot more than horse racing going on. National Public Radio reports on the track’s model preschool, Anna House, where the children of racetrack workers can go for quality care while their parents are working. Racetrack workers, who spent their days exercising thoroughbreds and cleaning stalls, drop their children off as early as 5 a.m. The school takes about 50 children from infants to age 5—nearly all Hispanic—and though the teachers are bilingual, the instruction is in English. One parents reports that this has made it possible for her daughter, a graduate of the preschool, to speak English fluently in elementary school. Parents are charged a weekly fee based on income, which may be as little as $5, but the school is mainly supported by donations. One horse fan donated $1 million and asked that the school be named after his daughter, hence the name Anna House. The owner of winning race horse Barbaro donated $250,000 to a scholarship program to help the school educate the children of the poorest racetrack workers.

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