Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to expand pre-kindergarten is getting a boost from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The pair appeared together in East Harlem on Tuesday to talk about the importance of early childhood education. Grace Rauh filed the following report.
Hillary Clinton is praising Mayor Bill de Blasio for putting early childhood education at the top of the city's agenda. But she says other politicians deserve credit as well for demanding pre-school programs reach more children.
“Everybody from the mayor to Governor Cuomo to President Obama and literally people across the country, taking on this important issue because we know that an investment in those early years is really the best investment we can make in our children's future,” said Clinton.
The mayor appeared with his former boss at a Head Start program in East Harlem Tuesday. De Blasio ran Clinton's campaign for Senate in 2000 and she attended his inauguration last month.
“She's been an inspiration. She's been a guide. And she has been giving Chirlane free lessons on how to be a first lady. Not available in stores,” said de Blasio.
But Clinton, who did not take any questions, did not say whether she endorses the mayor's plan to pay for the program with a tax hike on wealthy New Yorkers.
Clinton is expected to run for president in 2016 and she opened up about her daughter's years as a young child.
The former Secretary of State says she sang to Chelsea until she was about 16 months old.
“She'd take her little finger and she puts it on my lip and says, no sing, mommy. No sing,” said Clinton.
Earlier in the day, the mayor beefed up his pre-K campaign by appointing Richard Buery to be deputy mayor for strategic policy initiatives. Buery was the president and CEO of the Children's Aid Society. He will be lobbying state lawmakers to secure the city's tax hike. He'll also oversee the pre-school expansion, should the city get the money it is seeking.
Richard Buery's job is a new cabinet position that the mayor is creating. He now has a total of four deputy mayors. He says that is all he plans on appointing.