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The Call Blog: Mayor De Blasio Releases Report On Pre-Kindergarten Progress

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It remains to be seen if de Blasio will continue fighting this uphill fight in Albany or just give in and take the free pre-K for the City. It might be wise for him at this point considering all the support Governor Cuomo is getting for his plan -- among politicians AND residents.



Mayor de Blasio said today the Department of Education is ready to operate free pre-Kindergarten classes in all five boroughs starting this fall. De Blasio released a report that found schools and community-based groups have submitted proposals to create space to accommodate 29,000 new students, which gets the DOE on target to accommodate 53,000 four-year-olds by this September.

Speaking alongside Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Mayor de Blasio said the program would be available at more than 900 different sites across the city. He is still calling on Albany to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to fund the program, even though Governor Cuomo has pledged to pay for pre-K statewide with existing funds. What do you say?

Are you surprised to learn there is enough space in existing schools and community-based groups to accommodate an additional 53,000 students? Should Mayor de Blasio continue the fight for a dedicated revenue stream from new taxes, or agree to operate a pre-K program with State funds? What questions or concerns do you have about the implementation of universal pre-K by the fall?

Send your thoughts using the link above.



The question around pre-K is funding, the mayor has a plan which involves having the rich pay a little more in taxes, the governors is to fund it through the state budget, but my question is what other state programs will need to be cut in order for Cuomo to fund Pre-K since he is unwilling to raise any taxes especially in an election year.

FAR
Bay Ridge



I support DiBlasio and feel that all kids deserve equal opportunities. On the other hand, I question the rush to academic achievement. Why does a 4-year-old really need to attend school? What is the big hurry?!

Barri
Jackson Heights



Well as I see it this Mayor is challenging Governor Cuomo by simply being so arrogant
about putting this fiasco through. Where is all of this room coming from to house these
Pre-k”s? Do they all understand English? Do they have ample transportation? To me
they once again are spending tax payers money with the acknowledgment of only a few
people. This to me is nothing more than a place to house pre-k’s by name only and are
nothing more than babysitting venues. So I gather that the Public Schools and Charter
Schools problems have all been resolved. It includes transportation, space, their meals
and resolving the test taking and security and all the other little problems that come up
from time to time.
So then this is telling me that the DOE has solved the problem and so where have these
genius phantoms been hiding all this time. Just think that all of a sudden we have
room to house and accommodate 53,000 pre-k’s. Very impressive to me because I once
again would like to know where have they been since now.

WHAT CAN I SAY = I’M IMPRESSED !!!!!!!!
JUST WONDERING !!!!

Maxxiee
Morris Park



Here we have yet another instance of government picking of pockets. Why should anyone be forced by the government to pay for the education of another person's children? If you can't afford to educate them, you shouldn't have them.

Joe
Port Richmond



Public employees are legally prohibited from striking because of something called the Taylor Law. That's why city workers shouldn't even have unions in the first place. I wonder why no one mentions this as we debate how we should squander money we don't have on a wildly overcompensated and pampered city workforce.

John
Astoria



Raising taxes on people who make more than half a million is brilliant. The majority of voters will approve it because it will not cost them a cent.

Anne



I am still occupied with Di Blassios arrogance and hypocratic attitude re his motorcade traffic violations and the brush off of any questions about it, neither he or the police department drivers above the law, when I see an overweight cop or a sloppy one my blood boils, I am discusted

Joseph
Sunnyside



Forget about dedicating so many resources to Pre-K, how about the kids who are already in middle school and HS and are not receiving the rigorous level of instruction they should be getting. There aren't enough quality middle schools and High Schools in NYC. Provide longer school days like kids are getting at some of the charter schools and. Many of the schools are already overcrowded too!! Tax the rich more!

Audrey C.



The cost of his plan is prohibitive when you factor in transportation, teachers, aides, security, space, food, etc. There aren't enough wealthy New Yorkers to foot it. Do the math Bill and don't be too hasty.

Steve
Forest Hills



Neither Cuomo nor DeBlasio. My father paid for books, and my mother taught me to read. I got straight A's and went to Msgr. Farrell HS.

Joe
Staten Island



I think babies should be at home with their parents and babysitters; I don't think people who work hard to make 500 plus should have to subsidize other people's children.

We pay enough taxes !! And I don't think it will help the graduation rate in NYC.

Kate
Midtown East



I think that the important thing to take a look at is what the curriculum will be. Are we going to prepare these children for school? Could this be an opportunity to re-tool the whole educational system from pre-k all the way to community college? In my opinion, this is a situation that needs to be looked at in the terms of a full education from pre-k all the way to employability. Pre-k is going to happen, I only worry that it is going to be a micro managed political tool that performs the job of a baby sitter. I mean, imagine your whole education and what you learned; now think about what can be learned in an extra year. Again, this is an opportunity to re-imagine how we approach education as a whole city-wide, starting with children that haven't been to school yet; so there is no adjustment to a new system for the student.

Daniel



The mayor's plan to add a small tax to the wealthy should go through. The money coming from the state could be used towards city employees contracts. These hard working city employees have sacrificed for almost 8 years in these hard economic times with no pay increase while rich have become even more wealthy. Why must the poor and middle class pay.

Dee
Harlem



Education beyond the three Rs is too close to parenting. If parents want to give their children a head start, it should come from them be it the form of in money invested or time spent with their own children.

At least one elected official said that public school also functioned as child care when opinion on why the schools remained open during inclement weather.

The money is better spent on the hordes of recent high school graduates who do not have basic academic school or on the hordes of college graduates whom with or without head start find themselves saddled with student loan debt and unemployed. For what it is producing, we should reconsider public schooling in NYC.



Perhaps we should consider using some of the retired teachers the last administration push out of the system to save money and weaken the union. These teachers can serve as teacher coaches to the newly hired teachers that are less experience with classroom management and content skills.



Will this program be totally under the Board of Education? Will the current day-care/pre K businesses be part of this program? I would like to know more details. More importantly,why the push for funding. Way too many unknowns.

Jack B.



Universal Pre-k has the benefit to offer more NY city children much needed "ready to learn skills" in order to succeed in elementary, middle and secondary school. Using pre existing space in local CBOs as well as in public school is a no brainer. The local NYC tax option is a more reliable formula than state funding subjected to Albany shenanigans. Pre-k educators are professionals who are licensed in the NYBOE Pre-k curriculum already in place.

Obed
Washington Heights



I am a teacher and I am appalled that anyone would oppose pre-K. People that make a lot of money clearly need to learn how to be better community members and care about those around them. Sharing is caring. Maybe if they had universal pre-K they would have learned that.

I worked in a kindergarten classroom last year and it is insane how many kids come in without even knowing the alphabet! With reading and writing standards getting increasingly harder with the common core standards, kids need to come into kindergarten prepared to learn how to read or reading.
Teachers are not babysitters! Teachers put their heart and soul into their work and are paid very little and always blamed.

Cate
East Village



I think the mayor needs to present a table of projected costs for Pre-k. How much is this going to cost in year 1, 2 etc...? If costs go up is he going to raise taxes again? Has he secured space for pre-k classes, transportation to these classes, are the teachers going to be union members & what happens if there's another economic downturn, will those teachers be laid off?

There's too many questions and not enough answers!!

Dave
Midwood



Funding for pre k should come from a small tax increase from the wealthy. The wealthy are enjoying many tax breaks and loopholes already.
The money from the state could go towards city employees contracts. These hard working employees have sacrificed for almost 8 years without contracts and a pay increase in these hard economic times, while the wealthy have increased their wealth. Look at our previous mayor Michael Bloomberg

Denis
Harlem


I was wondering what happens to the money from the lottery is that not enough money to fund universal pre-k?

Shameca
Brooklyn



There seems to be a big to do about space for the Pre-K children I don't understand as many of our schools are underutilized. With the Bloomberg administrations push for Charter Schools we have plenty of schools with free space that was once utilized by students who now attend these Charter Schools. We have high schools which are also under utilized and whose space can be used dually - for the students who have young children and also children in the communities these schools are housed in.

I am also amazed (or should I not be?) at the narrow mindedness of those people who feel that the Pre-K has nothing to do with them as they do not have young children or any children at all so why should they pay for it. Well, let's see these children are often children who lack the necessary school readiness skills to be successful in school later on. In the long run children who lack school readiness skills will cost us all more with the need for remediation skills classes, greater referrals to special education services, lower graduation rates, a greater number of drop outs and people who are unprepared to enter and be successful in the workforce. This is not to say that children who have not attended Pre-K are destined to fall into the scenario I painted but they are more likely to do so. I attended Pre-K when it was a part of the public school system, way back when, It taught me to work cooperatively with my peers, try new things, and appreciate books. Many of our students do not own any books or have observed anyone reading any form of media; universal Pre-K will introduce literature and literacy as well as mathematics early and give us a chance to compete globally in the future by fostering an appreciation of reading and math. And isn't that what we need to do in order to continue being a world power? Ignorance and indifference are the most expensive commodities in the world. Therefore, we can't afford not to invest in our children - whether or not we are parents. For the record I do not have children but I am a proud professional in the field of education.

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