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Beyond Pre-K and After School, Mayor Yet to Firm Up Plans for Rest of School System

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With all the talk of pre-k and after-school programs, the mayor has yet to firm up many plans for the rest of the school system, a pattern that continued Monday with his State of the City address. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says that all New Yorkers deserve "a quality education" delivered by "quality schools," but for those hoping for details on how he plans to build that quality school system, Monday's State of the City address did not deliver.

The mayor focused on his push to expand pre-k and after school, and then spoke about expanding career opportunities for high school graduates.

"We will connect city high schools to colleges, apprenticeship programs and industries," de Blasio said.

Sound familiar? Back in October, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "By connecting students directly to college and directly to potential employers, our students will be better prepared."

The overlap didn't end there. Like Bloomberg, de Blasio said he wants to expand programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math, focusing particularly on the health care industry.

"We will prepare more of our unemployed and our young people, for middle-skill, middle-class jobs by scaling up innovative programs like the Bronx's Health Education and Research Occupations High School," de Blasio said.

That's a school that the Bloomberg administration recently opened. It shares a building with other schools and replaces one that Bloomberg closed for poor performance.

De Blasio has said he won't approve any more school closures or space-sharing agreements for awhile, which means scaling up programs like the one he mentioned may be more difficult. But his chancellor, Carmen Fariña, said that they'd figure it out.

"Look, there are many ways to expand a model," Fariña said. "You can expand a model within an existing school. You don't have to create a new school."

While Bloomberg used the State of the City to unveil specific proposals, those ideas were often controversial, including several aimed at removing low-performing teachers.

De Blasio did not even mention teachers once, though he did speak to city workers in general.

"I want to recognize the hard work and commitment of these women and men, and to say how proud I am of them," he said.

A kinder, gentler boss, at least for now.

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