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De Blasio's Plans For City Schools Go Well Beyond Universal Pre-K

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When it comes to the next Mayor's plans for education, the conversation has focused on universal pre-K getting more support and charter schools getting less, but it turns out that Bill de Blasio has laid out a lot more of his plans for city schools. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.

Everyone wants to know who the next schools chancellor will be, but the chancellor's job is to execute the mayor's vision, and that involves much less speculation.

Bill de Blasio's campaign website includes 3,500 words of education pledges and plans, most of which hasn't been discussed much.

"It's really a change of emphasis and tone," said Clara Hemphill of the Center for NYC Affairs at The New School. "The previous administration said there are two things we want you to do. We want you to graduate kids on time, and we want you to get the math and reading scores up. What de Blasio is saying, there are other things, which are important, too."

Things like health clinics and family support services, which de Blasio plans to incorporate into 100 "community schools" built over the next four years.

De Blasio says that he'll allow students to carry cellphones and require schools to serve free breakfast in the classrooms, something many teachers oppose.

When it comes to feasibility, though, some of his education plans raise red flags. Changing how students are admitted to Stuyvesant, Bronx Science and Brooklyn Tech, and raising taxes to pay for universal pre-K, both require new state laws. Other pledges set high goals, like "Ensure Every Child Receives Arts Education," which de Blasio defines as following state regulations. Currently, just half the elementary schools do that. Or "Ensure All Students Are Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade."

"One hundred percent of anything is not feasible, but it is feasible to put a real focus on reading in the elementary school grades," Hemphill said.

Though de Blasio has been critical of the mayor on education, there's a lot that may stay the same.

"I think we'll see a change of tone, I think we'll see a change of emphasis, but I don't think he'll blow up the system and start from scratch," Hemphill said.

De Blasio plans to keep the New York City Police Department in charge of school safety, which will disappoint civil libertarians, who want educators to manage all discipline. He'll also maintain control over whether schools share space, something he'd said he might give local parent councils more say over. And the soon-to-be mayor is clear: schools will continue to be held accountable for how their students perform.

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