In a joint press conference in Albany today, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo assured the public in the manner of two sparring parents that they don't hate each other, they just have occasional differences of opinion. (Cuomo wants to foot the bill for the expansion rather than risk raising the ire of the wealthy. De Blasio wants to deliver on a campaign promise that's based in more equitable wealth distribution.) But what matters is that Pre-K be made universal, Cuomo said, regardless of how it's paid for.
"I've made my proposal, the legislature will make theirs, the mayor will make his. That's the process we're going through now," he said.
"Look back at the relationships in history, where you think those were good relationships—It's not that there were no differences of opinion. You will have differences of opinion...it's about how you deal with them. It's how you resolve them. Is it productive, is it unproductive, is it constructive, is it destructive? That's the test of relationships that work, that's the test of leadership, and that's what I'm excited about with this new mayor."
De Blasio summed up his feelings somewhat more succinctly.
BDB’s key quote from that presser: “Guess what, guys? Once in awhile, we are going to have different perspectives.” What power struggle?
— Mike Grynbaum (@grynbaum) January 27, 2014
This morning The Mayor released a report on the precise ways in which his proposed income tax surcharge on the city's highest earners will benefit the program.
According to the report, fewer than 27 percent of the city's 73,250 families in need of full day pre-kindergarten are actually enrolled. The report estimates that the program would reach 54,000 by September, and all of the city's children by the 2015-2016 school year.
You can read the full text below, but here are a few takeaways:
- Free for every child, regardless of income
- Ensuring recruitment and retention of high-quality UPK lead teachers with early childhood certification
- Classroom ratios of 18 children to two adults (typically a lead teacher and a teaching assistant). Classes may go up to 20 students with an additional adult
- Basing all instruction and professional development on state pre-K learning standards, known as New York State Pre-Kindergarten Foundation for the Common Core
- Additional support for children whose primary language is not English
- DOE quality-assurance infrastructure for coaches, evaluation and research
- Increased family support in high-need areas
The report adds that such a program will cost an average of $10,239 per child, totaling $340 million annually, with $97 million of that dedicated to the initial start-up costs required to upgrade the program.