Quinn, Joined By State Senator Gianaris & Assembly Member Simotas, Assembly Member Braunstein, Lays Out First 100 Days Agenda For Education In Nyc; Calls Out De Blasio For ‘Legislative Longshot’ Education Proposal

First #CQ100Days

I. Education 

Christine Quinn launched her 100 days tour today, highlighting concrete initiatives she plans to have accomplished within the first 100 days in office and drawing a stark contrast from the unrealistic “legislative long-shots” that the de Blasio campaign has been calling for, specifically related to universal pre-kindergarten. Quinn plans to regularly roll out her 100 days program from now until Primary Day, and today she focused on education. Quinn pointed out that in her first 100 days as mayor, she will appoint a first-ever Deputy Mayor for Education and Children, meet with every community education council in the City to develop a parents agenda for schools, launch a city-wide teacher mentor program, and eliminate letter grades for schools to reduce obsessive teaching to the test. 

“This campaign is a choice between an effective progressive who actually gets things done and a candidate whose campaign is based entirely on getting a tax hike passed in Albany, that will never happen,” said Quinn.

Quinn, State Senator Mike Gianaris, Assembly Member Braunstein, and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas called Bill de Blasio’s plan to offer universal pre-kindergarten city-wide with an Albany-based tax hike completely unrealistic. They pointed out that because of the realities of passing a tax hike in Albany, the only way for de Blasio to fund his program is by passing a property tax hike in New York City on working and middle class families. Gianaris and Simotas, both state legislators, noted this year's failure of numerous progressive initiatives in the New York State Senate due to the Majority Coalition that empowers Republicans to rule that legislative body.

“This year's failures in the State Senate on issues like women's rights, the Dream Act and campaign finance reform make clear that the hopes of enacting progressive proposals in Albany are dim until we achieve a leadership change,” said Senator Gianaris. “The only recourse to pay for Bill de Blasio's plan will be through a city-wide property tax hike that working and middle class New Yorkers cannot afford. Christine Quinn knows there is a difference between rhetoric and results. That is why she has secured the endorsements of so many of New York's major newspapers and why I am proud to support her.”

“In light of the current political realities in Albany, Bill de Blasio’s plan to get the State Senate leadership to support a progressive tax policy to pay for education reform will not work,” said Assembly Member Simotas. “Christine Quinn’s plan for our public schools is both ambitious and plausible, and as mayor we can count on her to enact education policies that will improve the lives of children throughout our city.”

In the Daily News yesterday, one Albany source said: "De Blasio's campaign is based on a false premise that won't happen." In their endorsements this week, both the New York Times and the Daily News threw cold water on de Blasio’s legislative agenda. 

The Daily News noted that, “Bill de Blasio’s oratory is far more powerful than the small-bore economic fixes that he has advanced. Additionally, his call for raising taxes on the wealthy to drum up hundreds of millions of dollars annually to pay for pre-K education sells well, but hasn’t a chance at a time when the next mayor will have to fight like hell just to preserve the status quo.”

The New York Times pointed out that Mr. de Blasio’s plan “to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and after school programs through a new tax on the richest New Yorkers –need support in the State Capitol, and look like legislative long-shots. Once a Mayor de Blasio saw his boldest ideas smashed on the rocks of Albany, then what?" 

Quinn instead today unveiled what she plans to accomplish on education in the first 100 days of her administration, committing to put in place a Deputy Mayor of Education and Children to coordinate services available to New York children run by a half dozen agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Health.

Quinn also committed to meeting with each of the 32 community education councils in New York to foster greater parental engagement and develop a parent’s agenda for New York City education.

To support and bolster the educational development of new teachers, Quinn will implement a new mentor teacher program to help identify top teachers in the City and offer them the opportunity to leave the classroom temporarily and receive specialized training from the City University of New York. After two years mentor teachers will return to the classroom, so that over time, the City builds a reserve of expert teachers at schools all over the City.

As mayor, Quinn also made clear that she will do away with giving schools overly simplistic letter grades that force schools to prioritize test scores over teaching to the whole child and instead will require school reports make clear how they are doing on areas that contribute to overall school quality, including art and physical education, richness of curriculum, school culture and parent involvement. 

II. Stay tuned for the next stop in the tour #CQ100Days