We The People: The ABCs of full-day pre-K

Mayor de Blasio is pushing his full-day, universal pre-kindergarten program for New York City school children and hundreds of religious leaders have endorsed the proposal. The funding would come from a tax on wealthy individuals but any tax must be approved by Albany.

The tax would give more than 50,000 young children full day, quality early education and intervention for children who need services. This would benefit all children, especially the ones with special needs, for the rest of their academic careers.

The program would create jobs and provide economic stimulation besides helping the children. The program would put poor children on an equal educational footing with their wealthy peers while permitting working parents to return to the workforce.

Governor Cuomo has opposed the program and offered $300 million of state money to provide a universal pre-K program throughout the state. However, that funding could disappear and leave the city holding the bag for the expense without revenue to pay for it.

New York City has sent tens of billions of tax revenue to Albany only to see a fraction of it return for services including education. New York City was forced to sue Albany for decades of education under funding which hurt our education system and our children. We are still waiting for that money. If Governor Cuomo has $300 million available for pre-K education, maybe he could spend some of it to settle labor contracts with state workers?

Mayor de Blasio’s reservations about an offer of help from Albany are sensible. Our education system needs every bit of help and reliable funding is the way to get it. A universal pre-K program could identify students with learning disabilities, language issues or other needs and provide early intervention.

In Washington D.C., Chairman Darrell Issa (R-California) of the House Oversight Committee paraded a partisan disdain for free speech or collegiality at a recent hearing of the committee. Issa turned off the microphone and walked away from the hearing to stop ranking the Democrat, Elijah Cummings (D- Md.), from asking any questions.

The committee had convened to question former IRS official Lois Lerner about the allegations the IRS targeted conservative organizations including the Tea Party for investigation. The committee’s “investigation” is a complete waste of taxpayer money but calling Lerner after she announced she would not answer a question without a grant of immunity was a political ploy to create a scene for use in a Tea Party or Koch Brothers television commercial.

Issa has no problem wasting taxpayer money for political gain but will criticize any effort to forge bipartisan agreements on spending that could produce a more balanced budget. His slogan should be “Billions (of tax payer money) for disinformation and not a penny for practical bipartisan legislative work.”

Republican-Conservative Congressmember Michael Grimm should apply for a spot on Issa’s committee since he can add his own divisive disinformation techniques. He recently turned a statement about the crisis in the Ukraine into an attack on President Obama. He accused him of having an “ineffective foreign policy [which] has tied our hands and made us a bystander instead of a leader in the international community.”

According to Grimm, the White House must make it clear to Russian President Putin exactly what price Russia will pay if he does not pull troops out of the Ukraine. No doubt “Mikey Suits” would just toss Putin off a balcony if he were commander in chief, but as co-chair of the House Russia Caucus, his analysis and commentary should be confined to a helpful plan to defuse the conflict. A coalition of nations that believe in the rule of law will stand with the United States and end Russian aggression in the Ukraine. His saber rattling and negative criticism is no substitute for real foreign policy.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.