This afternoon Mayor Bill de Blasio expanded his “Ready to Launch” effort on universal full day pre-K, issuing an update on the substantial logistics required for a September 2014 implementation. Speaking at P.S. 130 in Little Italy, de Blasio was joined by Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, Deputy Mayor Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, OMB Director Dean Fuleihan, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion, Executive Director of the DOE Office of Early Childhood Education Sophia Pappas and DOE Chief Strategy Officer Josh Wallack.
de Blasio made a statement and issued a report describing his administration’s efforts at identifying potential sites for new or expanded pre-K classes throughout the city. He appeared to be energetically continuing his efforts at funding his pre-K program by obtaining state approval of an income tax surcharge on high earners, despite Governor Cuomo’s public rejection.
Q&A topics include: why the mayor and Governor Cuomo appear friendly and cooperative on pre-K when together but express different views when apart, will the city fund a single year of full day pre-K if the state does not, how many of the prospective new pre-K seats are in traditional public schools v. charter schools, what is the greatest challenge in converting existing 1/2 day pre-K sites into full day sites, how can the mayor assure that proceeds of his proposed income tax surcharge would remain dedicated solely to the pre-K/middle school program, regulatory issues around pre-K operators, how there can be space available in neighborhoods where schools are overcrowded, how many of the prospective new sites are in schools v. other locations, why the mayor is so opposed to co-locations of charter schools while seeking to co-locate new pre-K programs, the newly-announced ad campaign by charter school supporters, his views on academically screened high schools, his view on the school bus contracts, why he refused off-topic questions Friday evening despite saying on Friday morning that he would take such questions, the status of 28 charter schools expecting to open in fall 2014 in locations approved by the Bloomberg administration, his upcoming appearance on the TV series The Good Wife and his view on city employees marching in the Manhattan St. Patrick’s Day Parade in uniform/with banners.
Update – Standing Apart:
A brief clip of Mayor de Blasio and a reporter who chose to “stand apart from everyone.”
Update #2 – The Good Wife:
Mayor de Blasio discussed his upcoming appearance on the CBS TV series The Good Wife, saying that he and his wife “are deeply obsessed with The Good Wife.”