Mayor De Blasio: Education for All!

Nishat Mohinuddin, ‘16

“To the young minds that we help shape, the pre-teen lives that we keep safe, the generation of working New Yorkers that we put on a path to success, it will be priceless.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio will revamp the education system, putting more emphasis on certain aspects of the system than former Mayor Bloomberg did. Bloomberg’s education reform targeted middle schools and high schools, and focused on increasing the city’s dismal graduation rates. Mayor de Blasio, however, seeks to reform education for our youngest students. He demonstrated this intention by focusing on securing a pre-kindergarten system, which will allow children to have high quality full-day school. Mayor de Blasio says that tackling pre-kindergarten will be one way to approach economic inequality, since our current system discriminates against minorities. He is concerned that less than 27% of toddlers and 17% Black or Latino are receiving proper education from their early years, and says that this jeopardizes their futures from the start. But is this the best way to reform our education system?

Current pre-kindergarten classes contradict De Blasio’s mission. In many schools, pre-K is an environment where students gain social skills, learn to adapt to the long hours, and absorb the alphabet, colors, and animal names. However, kindergarten has become much more intense, so pre-K does not provide adequate preparation. The kindergarten teachers, nevertheless, are pressured to ensure that their students are capable of writing three paragraph essays, along with learning how to multiply and divide. The current pre-K system does not prepare students for kindergarten, so would expanding it truly help our young population?

In Mayor de Blasio’s education model, he states that to fund his pre-kindergarten and afterschool programs, he will establish a new tax on those with a net income of $500,000 or greater. Despite encountering many conflicts with other politicians regarding the new tax and the constant question of the state budget, he repeatedly emphasizes that taxing the wealthy will be a consistent way of receiving money, whereas state funding will not be as reliable.

Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to be quite confident about his plan, but will it be successful? He has claimed that an expansion of pre-K would be an investment in the future of New York City. On the one hand, forcing academic pressure upon students from an early age can be detrimental. On the other hand, it can be beneficial in the long run, allowing kids to become confident about their future. A pre-K program may well open various opportunities for students as they begin their academic careers.

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