Calls For Universal Pre-K, Expanded After-School Programs

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Democratic mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio laid out his vision for improving education in the city Thursday.

The current public advocate said he supports universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after-school programs, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

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“Yes, it’s bold and, yes, it can be done,” de Blasio insisted during a campaign event outside City Hall.

De Blasio’s plan relies heavily on help from Albany. State Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), a de Blasio supporter, said he believes such assistance is attainable.

“I would not automatically conclude that the confusion that’s taking place is going to cripple the opportunities for New York City children to get the kind of education to which they’re entitled to,” Perkins said.

De Blasio returned to the campaign trail a day after a Quinnipiac poll showed him pulling away from other Democrats in the race for mayor. De Blasio has support from 36 percent of likely Democratic voters. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn trails him with 21 percent, followed by 20 percent for former city Comptroller Bill Thompson.

De Blasio could avoid a runoff if he receives 40 percent of the vote in the Sept. 10 primary.

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“I’m proud to have offered a clear, progressive vision and to have stuck with it, and I will continue to stick with it,” de Blasio said when asked about his poll numbers.

Meanwhile, de Blasio stepped up his criticism of Quinn, accusing her of offering New Yorkers small solutions to big problems, 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports.

“Solutions that don’t reach very many people,” de Blasio said. “Small approaches that don’t really change the fundamental reality. They sound good in a press release, but they don’t get us very far.”

Quinn, however, defended her record, especially when it comes to education.

“I’ve brought 10,000 more pre-kindergarten seats to the city of New York,” she said. “I’ve passed progressive legislation that makes kindergarten mandatory. I’ve stopped the layoff of 4,100 school teachers, keeping them in the classroom.”

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