Friday, August 29, 2014

Is Comptroller Stringer stirring gay-baiting fears in the rush to roll-out prekinder expansion in New York City ?

Is Comptroller Scott Stringer trying to sabotage Mayor Bill de Blasio's prekinder expansion by fear mongering that children will be unsafe at the hands of "child pornographers" ?

As much as this blog has been critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio for having betrayed every constituency group that elected him, one can't help but be exasperated at the apparent homophobic fear-mongering by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in his scheme to derail Mayor de Blasio's ambitious expansion of prekinder throughout New York City. Even as the de Blasio administration hastily tries to accommodate a record influx of prekinder students, there's no reason for Comptroller Stringer to stoop so low as to stir up fears of "bad actors" and "child pornographers," who have probably already been screened out by existing facilities that the mayor is reaching out to, to house the prekinder classrooms.

"We have to make sure the classrooms are safe. We have to make sure that there's integrity to this," Comptroller Stringer said, adding, "We have to make sure that the safety violations, the insurance information, and bad actors are all resolved before this gets ready," before he concluding by saying, "That's my job."

Comptroller Stringer is whipping up concerns in the media that background checks of teachers have not yet been conducted before school starts. Why is he stoking unfounded fears about bad teachers ?

Comptroller Stringer told WCBS 2 New York that his office wants to review all of the contracts that the de Blasio administration has signed with hosts of the city's prekinder classroom programs, describing the contracts as, "This is paperwork that identifies a child pornographer. This is paperwork that looks at open violations. This is paperwork that matters for parents with children."

"Because of inadequate public school capacity, the de Blasio administration has been urging religious schools and community organizations to consider hosting the added programs," an early August report in The New York Times indicated, raising the possibility that Comptroller Stringer is stirring hateful gay-baiting concerns over religious groups hosting prekinder classroom programs as a result of a lack of secular public school classroom space. Before he was elected to the Comptroller's position in New York City government, Mr. Stringer served as Manhattan Borough President, where he had close ties to the ultra-liberal West Side establishment of Manhattan, where residents are highly reactionary of any effort to blur the church-state divide.

Given the Catholic Church's child abuse history, could Comptroller Stringer be referring to religious teachers as "bad actors" and "child pornographers" as a way to protest the use of faith-based institutions as hosts of prekinder classroom programs ? If so, then Comptroller Stringer is trying to taint the mayor's use of religious schools as festering with child abusing teachers. However, nobody is exactly certain of Comptroller Stringer's mixed-motivations. As Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña seek to calm parents' nerves as the city rolls out its expanded prekinder program, they appear afraid to call out Comptroller Stringer's fear-mongering homophobia. Given their own history of sticking their heads in the sand, Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña are trying to minimize Comptroller Stringer's crazy talk by focusing on preparations for the first day of school, set for Sept. 4. However, civic leaders need to come forward and challenge Comptroller Stringer to account for his fear-mongering crusade.


Mayor Bill de Blasio Downplays Comptroller’s Prekindergarten Concerns, Says Sites Being Vetted (WCBS 2 New York)

de Blasio’s Prekindergarten Expansion Collides With Church-State Divide (The New York Times)

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