By Katie Milani
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday named a veteran children’s advocate and former head of the Children’s Aid Society as Deputy Mayor of Strategic Policy Initiatives, a post in which he was expected to jumpstart the mayor’s pre-K initiative.
The nominee, Richard Buery “will be spending a lot of time in Albany,” de Blasio said at a City Hall news conference.
“Our job is to make these two New York Cities into one New York City,” Buery added.
Furthering the theme of school reform, de Blasio later joined former Secretary of State Hillary Rodman Clinton for a roundtable discussion with parents where he reiterated the importance of Deputy Mayor Buery’s appointment.
“The bottom line here is, if you care about the youngest New Yorkers and youngest Americans these are the steps you need to take, de Blasio said. “We are not turning back.”
Clinton applauded the de Blasio administration’s leadership in putting early childhood education at the top of the agenda.
Partnering with Univision and Next Generation’s “Too Small to Fail” launch, the Clinton Foundation hosted a discussion that included New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray as well as partner organizations such as PBS, Sesame Workshop, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Clinton argued that too many children were behind by the time they got to school.
“You’re literally building brain cells when you talk to a child,“ Clinton said.
Both the Clinton and Next Generation Foundations say they want close the gap and in the belief that with easier accesses to Pre-K, children were bound to succeed.
De Blasio likens very young children to sponges.
“We’re missing the strategic opportunity to reach them at this point,” he argued,