Bill de Blasio’s Universal Pre-K is a Public Health Hazard

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


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Bill de Blasio has built his agenda around universal free Pre-K because he could use it to push class warfare. Then Governor Cuomo took his toy away and William Wilhelm Jr. cried a bit and then got back to trying to ban horses in Central Park.

Meanwhile the Universal Pre-K train grinds forward and it’s going into a giant public health hazard.

Mayor de Blasio’s dramatic plan to expand pre-K relies primarily on community-based groups that have collectively been hit with thousands of health code violations since 2009, a Daily News investigation has found.

From 2009 through last year, the city issued 39,000 violations against 1,158 groups that run pre-K and day care. That includes more than 6,900 citations for “public health hazards” that the city considers “an imminent threat” to kids and 18,600 dubbed “critical.”

Sixteen of these groups with 50 or more violations now run pre-K for the city. Each year they were renewed; each year they racked up more citations, records show.

These groups have been cited for a long list of violations, including blocked fire exits, unsafe playgrounds and persistent vermin infestation.

Inspectors routinely find a litany of problems: Operators who failed to check criminal histories of employees. Toxic cleaning fluids that were stored in unlocked cabinets. Smoke detectors that don’t work.

Which isn’t surprising because Pre-K in poor neighborhoods, like community health care, tends to be bad and bottom of the barrel. It’s hard to find good help and the people putting in money to run these places often have political connections to corrupt pols (think Congressional Black Caucus) and are looking for an easy investment at the expense of the neighborhood.

Last week, The News found a mammoth pile of garbage stacked at the school’s secondary entrance. Inside, the school was dingy, with scuffed furniture and drab classrooms. One room was crammed with eight cribs packed next to each other with barely any room between them.

This is what liberal social welfare actually looks like on the ground. Drag, ugly and miserable.

The same building houses both infants and children up to 12 years old. The school — like all pre-K centers — is paid per child, so the more children enrolled, the more it takes in.

It goes for more than Pre K, most community health and education, is in the same boat.

This is the landscape as de Blasio prepares to offer free pre-K to all 4-year-olds, expanding full-time pre-K seats from the current 20,000 to 53,000 come September.

If you think it’s bad now, wait till the vultures really come circling. But don’t worry, there’s a solution.

On Friday he said the city is “going to guarantee the quality standard citywide” at all the community-based pre-K programs.

Sounds great. Tell us more.

Devora Kaye, spokeswoman for the Education Department, said the city’s pre-K team will expand from 150 to 250, while the Buildings Department will add more inspectors. The health department added $900,000 to its budget and promises to hire 12 more inspectors.

A 25 percent increase in inspectors while more than doubling the number of children. And the current system doesn’t even work.

It’s a Bill de Blasio seal of quality. With extra vermin.

No fewer than six separate agencies are in charge of ensuring pre-K is safe: state and city education departments, the city Administration for Children’s Services, and the buildings, fire and health departments.

Six separate agencies. That always makes things better.

The Pittsburgh-based Brightside chain operates 11 New York City facilities. A Brightside school on Webster Ave. in the Bronx has racked up 50 serious violations in the last five years. And at a Brightside school on White Plains Road, also in the Bronx, children were discovered alone in a classroom during an inspection, records show.

Let’s read up a little on what the current and former staff there have to say.

They want your degree for their grants, thats all…  They lie to obtain grant money, bonus structure is flawed and taxed… . Too many ghetto staff with drama and no professionalism.

Sounds familiar. Here’s another one.

first they hire really ghetto people like seriously… Get another low paying job in another daycare not this and you’re going to be working with ghetto people in a ghetto neighborhood… . I really hope the government stops the funding for this organization

And another one…

Students are not evaluated before they are allowed in to the center. Many are emotionally disturbed and abusive. There are many cases of neglect and child abuse… By not giving these disturbed children the help and services they need, they allow other children to witness their violent episodes and put them in danger while allowing their learning to be disrupted. It is sad. They don’t care about helping them. They would much rather get the money for these kids even though they so desperately need help! There is no “education” here at Brightside They are contributing to the problem in urban communities, not making it better.

It’s the broken public school system all over again.

Teachers have been kicked, hit, spat on by behaviorally challenged children and the children are still allowed to remain in care, if the teacher makes a fuss about the issue, they are reprimanded.

And more…

Cons – 1. The unfortunate ghetto parents are running the show…no matter how much we try to interact with the parents, the teachers suffer the consequences.

3. The neighborhood these cites cater to in the Bronx are the worst. Parents as well as children have an unfortunate lack of respect for themselves and others. You will get hit by, cursed, spit on, or a death threat by a child at some point.

You get the picture. Same old story, same old broken system. At some point this will be “fixed” by shoving it into the public system and it will cost more while providing even less.

But liberals never learn. It’s why they’re liberals.

  • Ban Liberals

    What happens when you elect a Communist.

  • TL2014

    Love the last sentence!

  • Webb Cook

    Just to let you know Daniel, I tried to comment on this excellent expose, but the censor wouldn’t let me post.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      it’s an automated system, sometimes it delays my comment too

  • Chavi Beck

    I live in Brooklyn and have been noticing the way every public school in the neighborhood is suddenly busy installing new landscaping. A lovely grass-and-trees garden out front which will be carefully gated away from students. Wondered where the funding is coming from. When I read the article about Red Bill shutting down successful charter schools in Harlem, I began to understand.