Campaign Questionnaire

The Campaign for Children invited all Mayoral candidates to respond to our 2013 Non-Partisan Mayoral Questionnaire on the future of New York City’s early childhood education and after-school systems and other related issues.  The written answers  from all candidates who responded are below.  To view a candidate’s response, click on his or her picture.

The Campaign for Children is a coalition of more than 150 non-profit children’s advocacy and provider organizations working towards high-quality, sustainable early childhood education and after-school systems for New York’s children and families. The Campaign for Children is a non-partisan coalition and does not endorse any party or candidate.

To hear more from the candidates, you can watch the video here from the Campaign for Children’s 2013 Non-Partisan Mayoral Forum, held in May 2013.

The Campaign for Children did not receive questionnaire responses from Adolfo Carrion, Jr., John Catsimatidas, Joseph Lhota, George McDonald and Erick Salgado.


The Campaign for Children’s vision is that every New York City child will have access to high-quality early childhood education and after-school programs. As Mayor, what is your vision for high-quality child care and after-school? Will you increase the number of youth and children who have access to these programs? How do you plan to do so and how do you plan to increase access to high-quality programs?

Please click on a candidate to view his or her response.

The short-sighted cuts to high-quality after-school programs and early childcare show just how out of touch the political class has grown in the past decade.

I spent 11 years as a New York City public school teacher, so I understand education from the ground up. To make a real difference in our children’s lives, we need to entirely rethink our approach to early education. Currently, we spend $2.5 billion on early childhood care and education. Unfortunately, that funding is spread across at least three different city departments, forcing busy families to navigate a thick bureaucratic fog.

I spent 11 years as a New York City public school teacher, so I understand education from the ground up. To make a real difference in our children’s lives, we need to entirely rethink our approach to early education. Currently, we spend $2.5 billion on early childhood care and education. Unfortunately, that funding is spread across at least three different city departments, forcing busy families to navigate a thick bureaucratic fog.

I will also launch the city’s first pediatric wellness centers, discussed in detail below.

I was the first Mayoral candidate to propose a plan to tax the wealthy to pay for guaranteed full day pre‐K for every four year old and guaranteed after‐school programs for every middle school child. I did this because I understand that starting early with quality pre‐K is essential to setting our children on the road to success. Middle school can be a turning point in a child’s education and we must ensure that they get the support they need at this critical juncture

Many studies have shown that children who have access to quality early education do better in school, graduate from high school, hold jobs and form more stable families. Of course, creating an educational system with this transformative power is not cheap. I have offered a balanced City budget, the People’s Budget, which found specific ways to increase City revenues to fund greater investments in our schools. By looking hard at the budget and prioritizing issues we should fund, we found ways to invest billions of additional dollars towards education initiatives. These investments range from Universal Preschool for three-year olds, permanent restoration of out-of-school programs, significant expansion of high school counselors to free CUNY tuition for the top 10% of NYC graduates.

Some of my priorities include:

Universal Pre-School for Three-Year Olds
Instead of forcing parents and preschool providers to fight over limited slots, the City must better prioritize early childhood education and make it truly universal. The reality is that significant numbers of three-year-olds already attend preschool, but there are many thousands whose families can’t afford it and have no options, setting up inequities by kindergarten and first grade. All three-year olds should be given the chance to hit the ground running with their education. My proposal will provide full-day, year-round childhood programming for the more than 100,000 three year olds in New York City. We will create a sliding scale so that families that are in the greatest financial need will not be forced to pay for care, while those that can afford to contribute will pay an appropriate amount.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten
For four-year olds, Universal Pre-Kindergarten will provide six hours per day of education programming during the academic year.

Permanently Restore Child-Care Cuts
I will restore the recent cuts to these essential programs.

Permanently Restore Out-of-School-Time Programs
These programs offer enrichment activities to students before and after school. I would restore the funding of these programs to their peak level of 2008.

Our ultimate goal must be to give every child in the city access to high quality early childhood education their families can afford. As Speaker I took some key steps, helping to increase full day pre-Kindergarten by nearly 10,000 seats, and as Mayor I’ll continue to grow that number. I’ll also continue to fight for increased pre-K flexibility and funding from the State.

I have a plan to expand affordable child care for more New Yorkers. Right now, the city only offers a credit to families that make less than $30,000, which leaves middle class families to fend for themselves. I will introduce a Middle Class Child Care Tax Credit that will be available to anyone making up to $150,000 a year, thereby assisting more than 90,000 additional families. It will build on existing and state federal credits, so that a family with two children making $75,000 a year would receive a total benefit of $2,040 a year.

I’ve fought throughout my time as Speaker to protect childcare and after school programs. In last year’s budget, I worked to ensure that more than 50,000 children from low-income households would receive quality child care and restored funding for nearly 30,000 students to attend after school programs. Because of these efforts, more than 160,000 children will be able to participate in additional after school programs this year. As Mayor I will work to increase that funding and keep it stable and constant in my annual budget.

I’ll also bring extended learning time to our schools, keeping students in a structured learning environment until 6pm, five days a week. We’ll start with the 100 lowest income schools in the city, using a combination of successful models, and building on a pilot program I recently announced with the After School Corporation and the DOE. I’ll also create a Deputy Mayor for Education and Children, overseeing all of the programs available to young people, and working to bring a true community schools system to every neighborhood.

As Mayor I want to make sure that we have an education system that works for our children. Unfortunately, right now we have a system that is failing our children. We have to move back to a system that again teaches critical thinking skills and do away from the present model of teaching to the test. In order to do this, we need to start at the very beginning. My vision for education includes mandatory pre–‐K, mandatory physical education, longer school days and an extended school year. I will work with the State legislature to reform the compulsory education law so that children are required to start school at age 5, as most educators believe they should. I will also work toward increasing access and funding for after–‐school programs. My administration will reassess the budget to find funding for these programs.

While in Congress, I proposed a tax credit to middle class families that doubled the amount of money families could deduct from their pre-tax income to pay for childcare. As Mayor, I will continue to support parents’ right to work and greater access to childcare by both encouraging the City Council to restore lost funding through their discretionary budget and by promoting policies that reduce childcare costs for middle families and those struggling to make it. By restoring funding to these programs and lowering total costs to families, we can promote greater access in both the public and private market for childcare.

For the past 12 years, the Administration and the City Council have engaged in what has been referred to as the “budget dance.” Specifically, the Mayor’s office proposes to cut critical services such as firehouses, youth homeless services, library services, and Beacon Programs. These services are then largely restored for one year as part of the budget adoption process and then the same “dance” occurs the following year. Often times, these items are not fully restored but only partially restored as the Administration moves to cut more items. Will your Mayoral Administration continue this budget dance? If not, then what would you do to change this process and end the budget dance?

Please click on a candidate to view his or her response.

Education will be my top priority as Mayor. I think it’s tragic that services have been left in limbo. The “budget dance” is a perfect example of just how dysfunctional our political system has become. As Mayor, I will end it.

The services that the city supports in the budget are too important to be used as political pawns. Unfortunately, doing so has become a tradition through the City Council member item system. As a Councilman, I called for the elimination of member items, a system that inequitably distributes taxpayer money based on political loyalties. Our children and our seniors often better.

I plan to negotiate a fair, straightforward, and democratic budget. I will baseline important city programs like early childcare and after-school programs. I will engage regular New Yorkers in the participatory budgeting process so that local programs are not left off the radar.

The yearly “budget dance” in which the Mayor makes cuts so the Council can restore them prevents a real discussion of budget priorities and effective decision-making. As Mayor, I will stop this cynical process and make the budget process a substantial discussion of policy and priorities.

I have proposed a plan to revamp the City’s budget process and put an end to the annual song and dance of threatened cuts and restorations that distract from the real issues that New Yorkers care about — good schools, safe streets, and reliable jobs. Every year New Yorkers are subjected to an orchestrated song and dance that their libraries or fire companies or childcare programs are going to be cut, and while they’re distracted, the Mayor quietly pushes through the other 99 percent of the budget. And every year, when the music stops, the threatened services are miraculously restored. It’s time to stop dancing and create a budget that is of the people, by the people, and for the people — a budget that reflects the people’s dream for better schools, safer neighborhoods, and solid jobs. The way things are right now, The New York City Dream is under attack. The People’s Budget, a comprehensive four-year plan, includes revenue generation and cost savings proposals that produce nearly $15 billion in new resources that can be redirected toward tax relief and new investments. The investments in communities, schools, and housing would also create a significant economic benefit in the form of more than 35,000 jobs. We also asked New Yorkers to rate these budget priorities and submit their own ideas. We need more participatory budgeting efforts. The People’s Budget is an effort to translate our values and priorities into dollars and cents.

No, I will not continue the budget dance. As Speaker I fought every year to end the annual practice of the Mayor cutting all City Council funded programs, and was successful in getting funding for a number of core services made part of the city’s baseline budget. When I’m Mayor I will present a budget that reflects my priorities and the priorities of New Yorkers, including funding for early childhood education and after-school programs.

For the past 12 years I have been highly critical of the budget dance. Government should not play games with the important resources and municipal services that our New Yorkers depend on. As Mayor I will work toward making the budget process more transparent and incorporating participatory budgeting where the City government will ask the public, what funding needs make the most sense for their neighborhoods. Transparency and greater public participation in the budget process will finally end the annual budget dance.

In recent years, the process of crafting a city budget has been plagued by a lack of transparency. The “budget dance” is the consequence of unnecessary grandstanding and political posturing. In Keys to the City, I proposed policies that cut waste, so we can save critical programs from the chopping block. At the same time, we need to provide the public with the tools to keep government accountable, which is why I proposed digitizing the city budget and publishing all city contracts so that the public can have a voice in the negotiation process.

As a result of budget cuts and the contracting process, the City’s child care and after-school systems are now essentially two systems—one through City contracts with agencies and one with the City Council. There is over $130 million of one-year funding in these systems through the City Council. The Campaign for Children conducted a survey of providers to get a better sense of the impact of this instability. One provider summed it up saying, “It is very difficult to plan with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over your head.” Another provider said, “Uncertainty if the program will continue is a huge stress for parents, children and staff. It affects morale and makes long term planning difficult.” What, if anything, would your Administration do to stabilize these two systems?

Please click on a candidate to view his or her response.

As Mayor, I will reform our contracting process and move critical services in-house. Too much abuse and fraud has been found in our contracting out budget, including with companies like Pearson, to trust some contractors to do proper oversight. By bringing more child care and after-school programs in-house, we can more effectively fund them and expand access for kids.

Our children’s futures should not be constantly in a cloud of uncertainty. As Mayor, I plan to baseline childcare and after-school programs so they are not left in the lurch. By engaging New Yorkers in participatory budgeting, we can ensure that no neighborhood is left out of the process.

We should review the City’s childcare and after‐school systems to ensure they are stable, and minimize stress and confusion for parents, children and providers. We can’t ensure our children are receiving the care and education they need if there isn’t a reasonable measure of security and stability for everyone involved.

This issues is also related to the ‘Budget Dance’ as mentioned earlier. In The People’s Budget I have baselined services such as childcare and afterschool programs. These are too important to be decided on a yearly basis and make it difficult for providers of these essential services to operate. I would work with the City Council so that these programs are administered through multi-year contracts with agencies. Thousands of parents rely on these programs so that they can work and we must do all we can to make these programs more stable to relieve anxiety for parents.

I’m proud of the steps the Council took last year to preserve community based child care programs, but going forward we cannot and should not have two separate but unequal systems. As Mayor, I will ensure that all eligible children receive the same quality early childhood education, and that existing programs have the resources they need to meet new educational standards. That’s why as Speaker I worked with the CUNY Professional Development Institute to make sure that centers funded by the Council are providing the best Early Childhood Education possible.

I cannot stress enough the importance of childcare and after–‐school programs for our City. Unfortunately, the present administration in its quest to reinvent government has made many essential services inefficient. The low morale that you describe is systematic throughout the City and needs to change. A Thompson administration will work with the City Council to streamline services. We will also reach out to stakeholders such as Campaign for Children to help us make the necessary changes to improve the administration of services and work toward improving morale for our parents, children and the hardworking staff members.

Making long-term investments in childcare and afterschool programs is the only way to assure that working parents and providers do not suffer through constant uncertainty. Parents cannot effectively participate in the workforce if they fear losing care for their children. Moreover, providers cannot create effective programming, if they are unsure of their budget for the next fiscal year. The most effective solution is to provide city agencies with adequate funding so that one-year stopgap measures are unnecessary. My administration can achieve this by cutting waste in the current budget.

The parents of the children in New York City’s child care and after-school systems are the workforce of New York City—nurses, pharmacists, City employees, teachers, school safety agents, taxi drivers, etc. What will your Administration do to ensure New York City has a thriving workforce and economy—for all New Yorkers?

Please click on a candidate to view his or her response.

As a New York City Councilman, I authored the city’s first Living Wage bill. It has impacted 70,000 workers and put $3 billion in their pockets. That bill paid many workers $12 an hour. Tragically, in 2013, we’re debating a $9 minimum wage.

As Mayor, I plan to expand Living Wage requirements to as many employment sectors as possible. Only by paying people the wages they deserve can we ensure that New York City’s families can stay, grow, and thrive here.

I will also launch an unprecedented investment in our infrastructure, putting thousands of New Yorkers to work improving our roads and bridges, protecting our coastlines, and preparing our city for future Sandy-like storms.

When I was a New York City public school teacher, I was briefly laid off as part of a budget crisis. Now, my two daughters are teachers and starting their own families. Like every New Yorker, I do not want my children or grandchildren to be left without the services, respect, and compensation they deserve.

My number one goal as mayor is to tackle the shameful income inequality that threatens to make New York City a playground for the rich and an unaffordable daily struggle for everyone else.

I will respect New York’s organized workforce and ensure our workers receive fair wages and benefits, as I have throughout my career. This means negotiating in good faith and treating our working men and women with respect. I have a vision to end corporate giveaways that don’t produce jobs, and redirect these resources to CUNY so we can train our workforce for the good‐paying jobs of the future. This will bolster the middle class in New York by bringing more people into it. We must raise the floor by increasing the minimum wage, fighting for real living wage on City deals, and offering paid sick day protections. It is critical for the Mayor to fight for fundamental economic justice for all New Yorkers – not just a select few.

NYC families are facing an affordability crisis when it comes to housing, and I have a vision to expand affordable housing for low–‐income, working and middle class families. My plan will create or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade by legally requiring the real estate industry to create affordability, leverage $1 billion in our pension funds to build affordable units, and change the tax code to create incentives for owners of vacant lots to build. This new approach demands more from developers, and establishes greater support for tenants and small landlords.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in New York City who work, but still live in poverty. Their pay is too little to support themselves, let alone a family, and they have nothing to fall back on when they get sick or grow too old to work. No working New Yorker should live in poverty. We must do the following:

Increase the Minimum Wage
First, we need to start by increasing the minimum wage. The current minimum wage in New York City is the federal rate of $7.25 an hour, or a full-time salary of about $15,000 a year. This pay is not primarily for teenagers working part-time, but breadwinners supporting a family.

New York City should adopt a minimum wage of $11.50 an hour, phased in over five years and then pegged to the Consumer Price Index. This will help single parent families with either one or two children finally climb out of poverty.

Paid Sick Leave for All Workers
Fortunately, the City Council saw the wisdom in creating paid sick leave for New York workers. We must follow through on their work and ensure this bill becomes viable law. People who are sick should not go to work. People who work when they are sick reduce productivity for themselves and others. This is bad for business and it affects us all. Working parents should not have to choose between sending their sick child to school or missing a day’s wages to stay home to care for them.

Reform Temporary Disability Insurance
Temporary Disability Insurance is a smart benefit currently required for workers in New York State. It allows workers with health conditions that last longer than a week the ability to get healthy and draw on insurance payments to cover missed wages. Unfortunately the maximum cash benefit is unrealistically low amount of $170 a week, an amount that hasn’t changed since 1989. To ensure that an undue burden is not placed on either party, both employers and employees should split the cost of the annual premium.

Create Family Leave Insurance
Family Leave Insurance is similar to Temporary Disability Insurance, but it allows a worker to draw on insurance payments to cover missed wages when caring for a family member or a new baby. Simply expanding the eligibility benefits of Temporary Disability Insurance to cover family members will allow families to care for each and offer greater job security. Both New Jersey and California have similar, successful plans.

Cultivate Middle Class Manufacturing Jobs
In addition to raising the standards of any jobs, New York City must actively cultivate jobs that sustain the middle class. It makes perfect sense to embrace the reemergence of manufacturing in New York City. These jobs served middle class New York for decades and can continue to do so. By expanding and empowering industrial manufacturing zones such as the Brooklyn Navy Yard or the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center we can give manufacturers a place to do business. I will also capitalize on the world-respected brand of New York City and create a Made in NYC program that will promote goods manufactured in the boroughs to the rest of the world.

As Speaker, I have worked hard to create jobs, diversify our economy, help small businesses and raise our standard of living in all five boroughs. Our city has made real progress and we are doing better than the rest of the nation. But we cannot be satisfied until all New Yorkers have real economic opportunity and can provide for their families.

As Mayor, I plan to:

● Target individual neighborhoods for strategic economic development. I have an economic development plan which will capitalize on the different strengths, infrastructure, and potential of New York City’s neighborhoods. It’s a strategy that sees opportunity in every community by looking at existing industries with room for growth and identifying new industries that can build on neighborhood advantages. For example, the South Bronx is a center for trucking and in the next few years those trucks will need to be retrofitted by clean-tech companies to meet new efficiency standards. We can capitalize on that need and the many strengths of the South Bronx such as its infrastructure, transit hubs, roads, and human capital. And by creating matching grants for clean-tech companies, or helping property owners outfit space that suits the industry’s needs, we can begin to transform the South Bronx into a modern hub of clean-tech jobs.

● Double the city’s exports by 2020, by creating NYC’s first ever regional export council. New York City underperforms in exports compared to every other major metropolitan region in the country. Cities with high levels of exports achieve this success because they utilize a regional approach and adhere to a comprehensive strategy that helps local businesses identify and access foreign markets. I will bring together government and industry leaders from New York, New Jersey, and the Port Authority to develop a comprehensive regional plan with the goal of doubling our city’s exports by the year 2020. This will create more jobs on the Staten Island waterfront, and boost sales for companies all over the city and region.

● Create 2,000 new manufacturing jobs in Sunset Park. Sunset Park contains nearly 9 million square feet of city-controlled industrial space, and much of it remains underutilized. We can build on the success of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and turn these properties into thriving centers of modern manufacturing. After the city created an independent non-profit development corporation in charge of investing in the Navy Yard, it grew to employ 6,000 New Yorkers and create billions of dollars in economic activity for the city. I will create a similar non-profit corporation for the terminals at Sunset Park that will help bring in new businesses and new jobs. By better utilizing all of the unused industrial space, we can create more than 2,000 new jobs.

● Help small businesses grow so they can hire more New Yorkers. Starting your own business is a central part of the middle class dream for many New Yorkers. But ask any small business owner and they’ll tell you one of their biggest challenges is accessing credit to buy new equipment or acquire a bigger space so they can grow their business. I will create a new pool of city capital that will act as a backstop for community lenders, empowering them to make bigger loans to new and growing businesses. For every $2 million the city puts up, we can guarantee as much as $5 million in small business lending.

● Attract more businesses and jobs with the highest quality workforce in the world. Our workforce is the most important factor that attracts companies and entrepreneurs to create jobs in the five boroughs. But our current workforce development system is disjointed and out of date. I introduced a thoroughly reinvented workforce development system – one that’s driven by real world-demand, has clearly defined metrics and goals, and rewards lasting results.

● Get more international businesses and entrepreneurs investing and creating jobs in NYC. Many international businesses and growing startups are interested in opening offices in New York City, but are daunted by having to navigate an unfamiliar environment. I will create a team of economic development staff that will be dedicated to these businesses, providing services like visa application assistance so their employees can work in New York, or connecting firms with available space in the five boroughs. The team will also spend time on the ground in major international cities and emerging markets, working to attract business investment, and bringing thousands of new jobs to the five boroughs.

● Create more jobs and help NYC food businesses thrive by developing a series of world-class food markets. One of the city’s strongest business sectors is food manufacturing. It’s a $5 billion industry that employs tens of thousands of New Yorkers. I will develop a series of world-class regional food markets that will serve as destinations for residents and tourists alike. These markets will bring fresh local food to residents of the neighborhood and help drive economic development by providing a place for local food manufacturers to sell their goods. The first market at the South Street Seaport, which is set to open seven days a week starting next fall, will be the first of many in my citywide food market plan.

● Incentivize more investment in biotech and medtech startups. Sometimes emerging businesses need a little help attracting early stage investors; this is especially true for the biotech and medtech industries. Both of these industries show great potential in NYC, but they need help to grow. I will work with the State to create a brand new tax credit for investors to encourage them to fund new biotech and medtech startups.

● Encourage domestic companies to bring American jobs back onshore. Over the past few decades, New York and the United States have seen a loss of jobs to less expensive international labor markets. However, many American companies are looking to move some of their outsourced jobs back to the United States. I believe we can bring many of these jobs to the City, creating new job openings for New Yorkers. Many of these positions will require specific types of training, which makes the size and quality of our workforce a major asset.

● Continue to develop a Brooklyn Tech Triangle. The tech industry, like a lot of industries, thrives on connections to similar businesses. Take for example, the proximity of DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, two hubs of our growing tech sector. All you need to do is look at a map to realize the next logical place for these businesses to head is Downtown Brooklyn. I will continue to invest in Downtown Brooklyn as the third point in a vibrant Brooklyn Tech Triangle by increasing transit connections and helping property owners retrofit their space to suit the needs of tech startups.

● Provide a single point of contact for businesses interacting with the city. The current approvals process for small businesses in New York is extremely complex, and often requires business owners to interact with staff at multiple agencies for permits, inspections, or assistance. I will implement a program called NYC Business Link, to provide a single point of contact for small business owners. All you’ll have to do is call 311, and a Link Coordinator will help you get every permit, every license, and every inspection. They’ll get to know your business and your needs, and coordinate with each City agency on your behalf.

● Ensure that more government contracts are awarded to local businesses. Whenever the City buys a product or procures a service, we’re required by State law to take the lowest bid – even if that means sending our taxpayer dollars to Minnesota or Malaysia. I will work in Albany to change that law, so we can give preference to a qualified local company, particularly one that’s woman or minority owned. We may spend a little more up front, but we’ll support local jobs and ultimately create additional revenue for local businesses and the city.

Working people are the life force of this City. I want to be the next Mayor to make sure that every New Yorker in every borough and every community is represented again. We need to focus on making this City more affordable for the middleclass. As Mayor my top priority will be expanding the economy and creating jobs. I will do this by utilizing New Yorkers’ diverse skills and building upon the thousands of small businesses throughout the five boroughs. I will put New Yorkers back to work by focusing on economic development in all boroughs, expanding successful industries, identifying new business opportunities and ensuring that all New Yorkers have the professional skills needed to find well–‐paying jobs.

As Mayor, I will work to make sure that New York reclaims its title as a middle-class capital of the world by supporting tax cuts for those making less than $150,000 — or 96% of the city’s population. By introducing a single payer option for New Yorkers, I’ll reduce health care costs, level the playing field for small businesses, and expand access to affordable housing with a plan for 60-20-20 housing (20% for low income earners, 20% for middle income earners, and 60% at the market rate). In a city of rising costs, our loss of 60,000 middle- and high-wage jobs in recent years is a sign of the challenges hard-working New Yorkers face. In Keys to the City, I outline how the above policy proposals can reverse this trend and ensure a thriving economy.

Running high-quality early childhood education and after-school programs requires retaining a motivated and qualified workforce of teachers, administrators and other staff.  Yet, child care and after-school staff have not had pay raises in over five years and child care staff recently lost access to the City’s Central Insurance Program, forcing many to opt out of the unaffordable alternative and work without health insurance.  What do you believe is necessary to keep excellent teachers and staff members in early childhood education and after-school programs and what would you do as Mayor to attract and retain a qualified early childhood education and after-school workforce?

Please click on a candidate to view his or her response.

Mayor Bloomberg’s greatest mistake has been his demonization of the public workforce, especially teachers. He has refused to negotiate a fair contract and undercompensated our most dedicated public servants. That is why I am the only candidate who has committed to making retroactive pay a priority.

Beyond paying them fairly, we need to invest in our teachers to make them the best educators they can be. Our students’, and our city’s, futures depend on it. As Mayor, I will implement a one-year, Teacher-in-Residency program. Similar to the training received by medical students, prospective teachers would spend most of their senior year in college in a classroom, working side-by-side with a professional educator. Upon completing their residencies and becoming teachers, they won’t be neglected. During their first two years on the job, they would be paired with a faculty mentor to guide their curriculum development and teaching style.

There is no more important job than teaching our children. We can’t expect to attract good people for this critical responsibility if we don’t treat the workforce dignity and respect. This means providing good pay and benefits, and negotiating in good faith.

For all the talk of budget deficits, New York City also faces alarming education deficits, and must be willing to prioritize resources for early care and education for children ages 0 to five-years-old. The cost of providing universal, comprehensive, high-quality early care and education for all of New York City’s children is staggering—just over six billion dollars. Taking into account $1.5 billion of current investment from City, State, and Federal sources, the education deficit is $4.6 billion. By closing the $4.6 billion deficit we will add more than 235,000 new full-day slots for early care and education and create tens of thousands of quality jobs for New Yorkers. I will also create an Office of Early Childhood Development and Learning. In order to meet the demand for high quality early childhood programming, and thus reap the benefits of its investment, the City will need to improve its interagency coordination and better align resources and efforts.

We must also provide a livable wage for our child care and after-school staff who have one of the most important jobs tending to our children, yet do not get the pay and benefits reflecting this importance. In addition to the ideas discussed in question 4, I would give this important workforce access again to the City’s Central Insurance Program.

I believe that if we want quality early childhood education that creates future educational success, then we have to attract and retain the most talented and professional workforce possible. That means providing better training, and it also means providing better pay. Given our current fiscal reality we may not be able to do that overnight, but we have to develop a real plan and begin to shift to a system that recognizes and rewards high quality early childhood educators.

First, it is my belief that all working people deserve a fair wage for their hard work. We will not be able to retain talented staff if we continue to pay substandard wages and my administration will work toward finding ways to ensure fair wages for all New Yorkers. Especially considering how expensive it has become to live in New York. Second, healthcare reform will be a top agenda item as Mayor. We will look toward finding ways to increase the quality and affordability of healthcare for all New Yorkers through some new initiatives such as creating a City–‐run healthcare access program similar to the San Francisco Health Access Program, which permits access to a network of participating providers for an affordable fee. In addition to the higher wages and access to affordable healthcare, we will work toward improving working conditions for the teachers, administrators and staff so that we can retain the best and brightest.

My mother was a New York City public school teacher for 31 years. My brothers and I attended public schools and got great educations here. We need to ensure that future generations have the same chance that we had. I propose paying excellent teachers more for taking tough assignments and creating a master teacher academy, so that new teachers benefit from their predecessors. In addition, I want to consider the Denver model of allowing teachers to trade-in future benefits for higher pay in the present. These policies will eliminate the brain drain in our education system, encourage qualified teachers to remain in our education programs, and attract talented people to begin a teacher career here in New York.

In 2011, less than 21% of high school students in New York City graduated ready for college and career.  Knowing the range of services, supports and opportunities it takes to ensure that students are college and career ready, what do you see as the necessary components of a comprehensive, citywide strategy to ensure that NYC dramatically increases the odds for kids? What steps would your Administration take in the first 100 days to realize this vision?

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While all of us agree that we need universal Pre-K, to stop high-stakes testing, no other candidates are discussing the root of our failing schools: poverty. Poverty creates stress and stress creates developmental problems. Many kids impacted by poverty enter school far behind their peers, and they never catch up. That is why, as Mayor, I will launch the city’s first pediatric wellness centers.

Pediatric wellness centers will engage children from ages 0-3, a pivotal time for developing basic learning skills. From parenting workshops to nutrition programs and pro-bono dental care, these centers will provide access to essential services and preparation for infants and toddlers. Multidisciplinary teams of educators will work with parents to ensure that every student enters school with an equal opportunity to learn.

To have the best possible outcome for our students, we must reverse the many failed policies of the Bloomberg Administration and focus on making every school an excellent school.

I believe in appointing an educator with a clear vision as Chancellor, reforming mayoral control to provide real input from parents at every level, instituting full day pre-K for all every child and after‐school for all middle school students, putting a moratorium on school closures and co‐locations until we develop a real long‐term policy of providing the resources and guidance to turn around troubled schools, reversing course on the over-reliance on high stakes testing, and putting an end to demonizing teachers and renewing our focus on teacher retention.

We must fully invest in the “cradle-to-career” approach to end the vicious cycle of sending our children from “schools to prison.” I have a proposal to increase the proportion of New Yorkers with higher education to 60 percent by the year 2025 through strategic investments in public education.

However, to get to college, we must start at pre-school. In the People’s Budget, I have called for a holistic approach to making a well-rounded education a top priority. Some elements of this approach include:

Investing in a Nurse Family Partnership program. This program provides critical in-home prenatal care for Medicaid- eligible first-time mothers, and continues parental support for up to 2 years after a child is born. Early care for children results in higher scores on children’s reading and math achievement tests.

Expand Computers for Youth. This existing program provides refurbished computers, pre-loaded with educational software, to 6th graders. I will expand this program to every public middle school in New York City where at least 75 percent of the students receive free lunch.

Increase Guidance Counselors. Guidance counselors are particularly important for college success. I will change the current unmanageable ratio from 259 students to 100 students per counselor.

Free CUNY Tuition to Top Performers. The top 10 percent of New York City public high school graduates should be offered free tuition to CUNY schools. The offer of free tuition would help motivate students and elevate CUNY, one of our City’s most valuable gems, to the level of a competitive prize.

Reform the Panel for Education Policy. The governing body of the school system needs to be reconfigured so that it is more inclusive of the community and the parents and students that it serves.

Collectively, this holistic approach will prepare more of our students for college and compete in the global economy.

I know that well-educated and well-prepared kids are the key to New York City’s future. That’s why I have focused on early childhood education, improving our middle schools, protecting teachers from lay-offs and making it easier for parents to navigate the school bureaucracy.

As Mayor, I plan to institute a multifaceted plan to improve our schools and make sure every student graduates ready for college and career.

● Create a Deputy Mayor for Education and Children. Over the course of a single day, a child might interact with programs run by half a dozen city agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Human Resources Administration, or the Department of Health. I will create a new office of the Deputy Mayor for Education and Children to better coordinate the many services available to kids and their families, from after school programs to health clinics to food stamps.

● Identify our most effective schools and take their best practices system wide. In the last ten years we’ve collected tons of data on our students, and used it to make the system more accountable. What we haven’t done as well is look closely at our best schools, and principals, and teachers, and figure out what they’re doing right so we can put those same techniques into place at similar schools. I will conduct a System wide Success Study – an in depth analysis of what techniques from our best performing schools have proven most successful with different types of students – and apply their best techniques to schools with similar populations or similar challenges.

● Create a red alert system to keep schools from closing. Instead of treating school closings like a goal in itself, we should see it as a last resort when all else has failed. I will create a red alert system for struggling schools, looking at early indicators like absentee and graduation rates, and identify them well before they’re slated to close. We’ll provide them the support they need to put ideas from our System wide Success Study into action. And most importantly, we’ll give them time to turn things around, not just wait a year and pull the plug.

● Develop and support our newest educators by creating a Mentor Teacher program. I will create a Mentor Teacher program that will identify our top teachers and offer them the opportunity to leave the classroom temporarily, receive specialized training from CUNY, and serve as mentors for first and second year teachers. That way even if your child has a first-year teacher, they will benefit from the experience of one of our city’s best. After two years these mentor teachers will return to the classroom, so over time we’re building up a reserve of expert teachers at schools all over the city.

● Empower parents to play a bigger role in our schools. Parent engagement has three distinct components: giving parents the tools to help their children succeed; being responsive to parents looking for help; and including parents in decisions about their child’s education. I will create an online Parent University where families can go to learn about everything from nutrition to study skills, and brush up on different class subjects. I will also launch an online tool to help simplify the complicated school choice system. I will ensure every Parent Coordinator and Family Advocate is fully trained, supported, and resourced, and introduce a tracking and accountability system for our Parent 311 hotline. Lastly, I will better engage Community Education Councils and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee to determine how new policies will impact families.

● Improve student performance by extending the school day. Dozens of studies over the last decade show the same results: More learning time leads to greater academic achievement, better attendance, and more enthusiastic learners. As Mayor, I will keep more of our kids in a structured education program until 6pm, five-days-a-week. I will start by targeting schools that face bigger challenges: the 100 schools with the highest percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

● Use community schools to meet all of a child’s needs. Just because you have a great teacher, that doesn’t mean we’ve removed all the barriers that can make it harder for you to learn. You need to be able to see a doctor when you’re sick. You need physical activity and healthy meals. You need tutoring and after school programs, internships and summer jobs. The community school model coordinates all these services to better meet the needs of the whole child. They’ve had great results in some targeted neighborhoods here in New York, and in other cities from San Francisco to Cincinnati. Now I will bring the community school approach system wide.

● Reduce the amount of time students spend taking and preparing for standardized tests. New York City is a place that understands the value of art and culture and of thinking in new, creative ways. We need a school system that makes time for science and technology, art and music, physical education, and creative thinking. And that’s simply not possible in a system where everything builds towards a series of standardized tests. I would expand the number of schools using alternative assessments like portfolios, where teachers evaluate a collection of student work that showcases the information they learned and progress they made throughout the year. I will also work with the State to eliminate field testing – questions or entire exams that don’t even count towards a student’s score, but exist solely to help testing companies try out new test questions.

● Prepare students for the tech jobs of the future. Between 2005 and 2010, jobs in New York City’s tech sector grew by 30%, and computer skills are now key components of jobs in industries from advertising to manufacturing. I will make computer science classes available to students at every high school in New York City. And I will also push the federal government to include computer science in the new Common Core Standards.

● Allow teachers to tailor lessons to their individual classes using online textbooks. Thanks to the Internet, teachers can share lessons and materials with colleagues around the world, and organize those lessons into online textbooks. I will use the more than 100 million dollars we spend each year on traditional textbooks to buy tablets for every student in New York City public schools, and cover staff costs to make sure these online texts are meeting rigorous standards.

● Get every student reading on grade level. Reading and writing are the foundation of every aspect of learning. But right now less than 50% of our third graders are reading on grade level. I will create the most intensive literacy support program in the country, with a three-pronged strategy. 1) Build a strong foundation through an integrated pre-K to 3rd grade approach, 2) Incorporate literacy skills into every class in every subject area. And 3) Provide high quality interventions and remedial instruction for students who are falling behind.

To improve proficiency and graduation rates in the New York City, we must redesign our schools and that’s why I’ve called for an overhaul of the school system. I strongly believe that we need to stop closings schools and start fixing them. We must first appoint a schools’ chancellor who is actually an educator and understands the important role and demands of teachers. Next, we need to make sure our parents are more involved. Under the Bloomberg administration, parent voice has been forcibly absent. As comptroller, I called on the city to reform the Community and Citywide Education Councils and the School Leadership Teams so parents would have a voice. As Mayor, I will look to diversify our Panel for Education Policy and believe that we need to add more parent voices to the team. And, we must work harder to build a schools‐to‐jobs pipeline with multiple pathways for graduation.

In a global economy, attaining a college degree is more critical to success in the job market than ever before. In order to raise the number of college-ready high school graduates, I propose policies that keep good teachers in the classroom, expand school choice, raise education standards, and provide the technology in classrooms needed to succeed in a 21st century economy. Leaving 80% of our kids behind is not a future we can afford.

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