Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off a universal prekindergarten “Day of Action” rally inside Tweed courthouse today, declaring that he hoped free pre-K would spread “like wildfire” across the country, according to The Observer today (June 16). Examiner attended the press conference attended by teachers, support staff, volunteers, politicians, the School's Chancellor, other notable public school and CBO administrators, as well as the media alike.
"The goal of the rally, like much of Mr. de Blasio’s press events of late, was to raise awareness of his signature initiative. Several dozen parents, principals and Department of Education volunteers attended the rally," added The Observer today.
“This is a transformative moment for our city” Mr. de Blasio said outside the Tweed Courthouse where the Department of Education is headquartered. “We are doing this to reach out to a whole other generation of kids and give them the start that we wish so many other kids had been given. We are going to do it now, we are going to do it the right way, this time, in our time,” added De Blasio at the rally.
“You have a chance to help make history,” he added to those in attendance. “People are watching because this could change the way we think about education all over this country. If we show in the biggest city in the country that we can get full day pre-K for all and we can make it work, then it’s my hope that pre-K will spread like wildfire all over and strengthen this whole nation.”
Mr. de Blasio appeared with Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña at the rally, who also spoke.“Very honestly, this is not just about babysitting,” said Ms. Fariña to the crowd in attendance, who explained the general goals of the initiative to those at the rally.
“All children by the end of second grade will be reading on grade level, that all seventh graders will be socially, emotionally and academically ready for high school and that all tenth graders will be college ready and work force ready,” she said at the rally today. “If we are going to be able to accomplish that we know that UPK gives us a whole other year of readiness and it really is crucial.”
The mayor also spoke about the long-term benefits of the initiative to those involved in the early childhood Pre-K initiative. “It’s going to then reverberate forward. Those children being given that better start, are going to learn better, are going to have better lives ahead, their families will be uplifted and then the whole school system will start to improve,” added Mayor de Blasio at the rally.
Ms. Fariña also made it a point to emphasize Mr. de Blasio’s commitment to the initiative.“He could have made promises about anything when he was running for mayor but because this became one of the most important things that he campaigned on, I think it really shows also where his values are and where his moral compass is,” she said to the crowd in the courthouse. She even gave the Mayor a new nickname: the mayor “will be known as the pre-K King from now on,” she said at the event. de Blasio joked that his kids would be attending The Neptune Parade in Brooklyn as a king and queen this weekend, so it was only fitting that he bore the pre-K king title as well. Staten Island teachers and parents interested in reading more about the rally at Tweed Courthouse can visit http://observer.com. Those interested can also visit the NYC DOE website for more information at http://www.nycore.org/2014/06/whose-schools-ourschools-action-on-june-16th/#sthash.ynjuGmzX.dpbs.