December 20, 2013
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – A broad coalition of prominent New Yorkers and business, civic, non-profit, clergy, and academic leaders launched UPKNYC: The Campaign's goal is to fund high-quality pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds and after-school programs for all middle school students in New York City who need them.
The campaign's website, www.upknyc.org, includes a video narrated by Chirlane McCray. Building on the grassroots energy, the coalition pledged to work over the coming weeks to inform New Yorkers about the need for early childhood education.
Leaders from business, civil rights, academia, advocacy and the arts have formed UPKNYC’s growing campaign committee, including: Roger Altman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Evercore Partners, former Deputy Treasury Secretary, Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools; and Cynthia Nixon, actor.
The campaign committee also includes the leaders of a growing list of 25 advocacy and non-profit organizations with deep roots across the five boroughs, including: Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society and the Center for Children’s Initiatives.
“We know, without a doubt, that investments in high-quality early childhood education and after-school pay off in the short and long term, reducing high school drop-out rates, the need for special education, incarceration, teen pregnancy, and low earnings later in life. A small tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers is a fair way to pay for such an important investment. New York must pass Mayor-Elect de Blasio’s plan to expand universal pre-kindergarten and after-school programs: it is the best way to reduce inequality in New York City,” said Reverend Al Sharpton.
A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that a significant majority of New Yorkers support the Mayor-Elect’s plan. 63% of New York State voters are in favor of raising the income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund early education for all children, including 68% of New York City voters, 55% of voters in the suburbs and 64% of those who live in upstate New York.