Our Education Plan
Make New York
a Beacon of
Sometimes change happens with deliberation, sometimes it is forced upon us. COVID-19 has forced a change in how our school system operates. This affords us the unique opportunity to make long overdue changes regarding the education of our youth. Since its inception, Our educational system has been defunded over and over again. Our current Department of Education was formed on December 14, 2002. It’s only 17 years old! Our schools need to be the “Place to Be” for our kids instead of the place kids “Wind Up” because they cannot get into a Charter or Private school.
Education is only
17 years old.
The New York City Board of Education was established in 1842, but our currently recognized system of 6-year elementary, junior high/middle school and high school has only been around since the late 1930s.
On February 3, 1964, over 450,000 students boycotted New York City public schools in protest over segregation and school conditions.
Regarding segregation & school conditions, this is not just an old fight, it’s a generational one.
In 1969, Mayor John Lindsay gave up control of schools and re-organized the school system into the Board of Education (made up of seven members appointed by borough presidents and the mayor) and 32 community school boards (whose members were elected). Elementary and middle schools were controlled by the community boards, while high schools were controlled by the Board of Education.
33 years later, In 2002, the city's school system was reorganized by chapter 91 of the Laws of 2002. Control of the school system was given to the Mayor, who began reorganization and reform efforts. The powers of the community school boards were diminished and the Board of Education was renamed the Panel for Educational Policy, a twelve-member body of which seven members are appointed by the mayor and five by Borough Presidents.
Due to an continued and ongoing power struggle between the Democratic and Republican parties, state senators failed to renew mayoral control of the city's school system by 12:00 a.m. EDT on July 1, 2009, which immediately ceded control back to the pre-2002 Board of Education system.
Since 2009, the NYS Assembly has passed incremental laws keeping NYC Mayoral control over the DOE and the current law is set to expire with the end of Mayor DeBlasio’s term in 2022.
children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together..."
The Department of Education has an annual budget of nearly $25 billion for its 1.1 million students. According to Census Data, New York spends $19,076 each year per student, more than any other state compared to the national average of $10,560.
$3 billion of the budget goes to Non City schools. This includes $1.09 billion to pre-school special education services and $725.3 million for School-Age non DOE contract special education. Another $71 million goes to non public schools such as yeshivas and parochial schools and $1.04 billion is paid for the 70 thousand students attending charter schools.
$4.6 billion of the budget pays for pensions and interest on Capital Plan debt.
New York City began to offer free lunch to all students in 2017.
40% of students live in households where a language other than English is spoken.
40% of our children are living in poverty.
Unlike other urban school districts (such as San Francisco Unified School District), New York does not use racial preferences (affirmative action) in public school admissions. The School Diversity Advisory Group has recommended that race and socioeconomic status, rather than student aptitude, be the prime considerations in school admissions. Our schools regularly fail the mandatory state physical education requirements. The NYCDOE failed to maintain or improve playgrounds, instead turning them into ad-hoc additional classroom space or parking lots.
In the 1974 case of Milliken v. Bradley, Justice Thurgood Marshall said:
"Our nation, I fear, will be ill served by the court's refusal to remedy separate and unequal education," Marshall warned, "for unless our children begin to learn together, there is little hope that our people will ever learn to live together and understand each other."
Finally and most importantly, Our schools have been impacted directly by the COVID crisis.
My Educational Solution
3K to CUNY Degree
MY 3K2PHD PLAN
Free education available for our kids from 3K to PHD.
A Permanent blended learning option.
I want to see the first Queens student graduate from Universal 3K to a PHD completely free. Our public and CUNY education systems should be free to all New York City Residents
The lottery contributes about 30% of it’s proceeds to fund education but getting a good education shouldn’t be like playing the lottery. We need to sift through these funds and ensure it is distributed responsibly.
Principals should run their schools completely. School Safety and Crossing Guards should all fall under Department of Education purview with Principals charged with the hiring of personnel for their schools. Training and certification should fall under DOE purview.
I want to encourage civics education. “We are going to be the district of public servants.” says Ruben. Add more civics classes to the curriculum, emphasizing the importance of voting in local elections and what it means to be a citizen, encouraging public service.
More than ever, we need to prioritize music, art and athletics. Our Summer Youth Employment
Program is also important to help our youth gain experience through summer jobs. Kosher and Halal foods need to be made available in public schools. We’ve had to fund a sudden need for technology in tablets for our students due to the pandemic. We can go further by extending innovative programs in S.T.E.M. education and other technologies to keep us competitive.
I’ve provided bi-lingual programing for kids for over 15 years. Our bilingual students are generally more motivated and achieve higher grades. We need to encourage more bilingual education in our schools.
Segregation in our schools is as old as the history of our education system in New York City. Our public officials, parents, teachers and principals have seen no real change in this dynamic ever. I propose to sit with the Department of Education and the Teachers Union to try something different. I propose the desegregation of our teachers. Our teachers will be rotated randomly or by lottery with added incentives for those teachers. This would be an “opt-in” option with additional incentives and benefits ensuring that the best teachers influence our most at need schools.
I think the DOE’s School Diversity Advisory Group needs to be budgeted out of existence as no members of this group, frankly, represent our everyday students, parents and faculty at our public schools and their recommendations have done nothing to solve our ages old problem of segregation. Let’s add that money to securing universal child care and 3K.
As a child of the welfare system, I am proud of the public education system from which I graduated. From Chester Park Public School 62, to Virgil I. Grissom Junior High School, to Richmond Hill High School to Queens College, to the life lessons that brought me here today. I am committed to bringing our school system in line with what the world expects of us.
I recently had a discussion via zoom with students from a High School in Brooklyn and students from Nepal. I thought, how wonderful that we can connect and communicate and learn with each other around the world. As an additional pool of funding for our school system, I want to open integrated, paid, worldwide remote learning options allowing students around the world to participate in segments of our school system. This can add needed revenue to support our educational infrastructure.
As a parent of a second grader, I share the concerns of parents and educators for the intellectual and sociological development of our kids. But I’ve also seen increased connectivity between teachers and students both of whom have had to flash learn new technology.
I believe that a blended learning model is not only a logical solution for the next two to four years as the COVID-19 crisis resolves itself, but may be a permanent way of life for us that may finally provide an solution to segregation and put to rest the wishes and indeed, the mandate of the good Justice Thurgood Marshall that our children “... learn to live together and understand each other."
It’s hard to believe we still have transitory issues providing a safe learning environment for our LGBTQIA+ youth. We have a backlog on so many issues in our city, not the least of which is the title IX investigations for ethics violations. We have the time and must take that time now to eliminate this backlog and protect our students against gender discrimination.
Our educators are partners with our parents and caregivers in the rearing of our young ones. But how do we strengthen our relationships with our educators? How does our Mayor and the United Federation of Teachers union serve our teachers? Mayoral control expires in 2022. Again, this is an opportunity for us to be proactive in planning our educational system for the future.
It’s all inter-related. Our Education, Our Housing, Our Transportation, Our Health.
Let’s ensure that free MetroCards continue to be available to students in need throughout our public school system regardless of whether mayoral control extends past 2022 or not. Continue free unlimited MetroCards for ASAP and ACE students in CUNY. Extend unlimited MetroCards for SEEK/CD students in Cuny.
Continued funding for the CUNY Fatherhood Academy (CFA), a free program for young fathers or expecting fathers to help them prepare for their high school equivalency (HSE) diploma exam or get ready for college. These men 18-30 years old can get tutoring and take workshops on parenting, job readiness and more.
CUNY and the MTA currently run under state jurisdiction. These both need to be brought under purview of the city where it belongs.
We need to learn together, live together, and work together.