NEW YORK—With two weeks to go in the election Christine Quinn is putting her campaign into fifth gear. The current City Council Speaker began rolling out her “First 100 Days” tour and taking aim at her closest rival, Bill de Blasio, in the process.
Flanked by two members of the State Assembly and a State Senator, Quinn announced what she plans to do in the first 100 days as mayor on the education front, promising her plans were on solid ground—something she feels could not be said about de Blasio’s pre-kindergarten plan.
Quinn said her ideas were “a stark contrast of the unattainable and unrealistic legislative long-shots that Bill de Blasio has been calling for.” In October 2012, de Blasio called for a hike on New Yorkers making over $500,000 to pay for universal pre-kindergarten for all children.
The tax hike will need Albany’s approval, something de Blasio says history has shown he can get. Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg asked, and was granted, a tax increase following the September 11 attacks.
“I think there is a tremendous public support for early childhood education and afterschool,” de Blasio said on August 26. “I am convinced we will prevail and history suggests I am right.”
Quinn, who said she has spoken to state senators, did not agree.
“Even if you think this income tax increase is a good idea or a bad idea, this is something that has absolutely no chance of passing the Republican controlled State Senate,” Quinn said.
After wiping her feet on de Blasio’s untimely misstep, Quinn rolled out what she labeled as bold—but realistic—education plans.
Quinn wants to create a Deputy Mayor for Education and Children which will coordinate the services provided by many already established agencies, she promised to meet with all 32 Education Councils in the first 100 days to create a parent agenda, and create a new mentor program for first and second year teachers.
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The city currently has mentor programs for teachers, and Quinn joked her team should have come up with a better name. Her program would pull veteran teachers out of the classroom for one to two years and, in partnership with CUNY, will train first and second year teachers.
Quinn’s proposals, while fairly detailed, were for the most part safe. When asked by another reporter if she felt she was going to the other extreme and introducing safe proposals, Quinn defended her stance.
“I don’t think it is about controversial or not controversial,” Quinn said. “It is about what you can do or deliver.”
April 10 will be the 100th day in office, leaving roughly 65 working days for Quinn to meet all 32 Education Councils. It is not impossible, but certainly combined with filling her cabinet, negotiating union contracts, as well as the yet-to-be-released “first 100 days” promises, her schedule will be full.