Thursday, April 24, 2014

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A Look At The Mayoral Candidates' Plans For Education

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The issue of education has been featured prominently in the campaign for mayor, and each of the candidates have their own individual stances. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.

Perhaps the best known education plan of all the mayoral candidates is the one put forth by Democrat Bill de Blasio.

The plan calls for universal pre-kindergarten to be paid for by an increase in the income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers.

"These core investments are necessary if we're going to turn our school system around and be more fair to parents who are struggling to find pre-k and after-school options," de Blasio said.

Critics say the plan, which must be approved by Albany, has virtually no chance of passing, at least next year, where the governor and the legislature are up for re-election.

William Thompson is the candidate with the endorsement of the teachers' union, but it was just this week that he called for a bold plan, only it involved higher education.

"Tuition has skyrocketed over the years," he said Thursday. "That's why today, I'm announcing a plan to provide all New York City students with a "B" average or better with their first year of college free at any city university institution."

Critics of this plan say it will be funded by the sale of taxi medallions, which is a non-recurring revenue.

Christine Quinn has emphasized that she plans to keep more money within the system, with less outside contracting for services. She is now also calling for universal pre-k, although that hasn't been her central message on this issue.

"When I'm mayor, we're going to make sure every 4-year-old whose parents want them to has full day pre-kindergarten," she said. "And I believe we can find, I know we can find those resources within the Department of Education."

In the Republican race, candidate Joseph Lhota supports school choice and an expansion of charter schools. His opponent, John Catsimatidis, wants schools to focus more career and technical education.

According to the state Department of Education, 57 percent of teachers are unsatisfied with the job of current Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. However, the same survey found that 72 percent of parents approve of the job he's doing, a signal that perhaps people are not asking for the new mayor to do anything radical on the issue. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP