Our Plan for Education

As your City Council Member, I will fight for all public school students to receive an equitable, high-quality education:
  • Prioritize initiatives and changes that will lead to a more equitable public school system for all students.
  • Ensure New York City  schools receive their fair share of funding to guarantee all students an equitable opportunity to learn.
  • Change New York City’s public education system’s governance and increase transparency and accountability to give parents and community members a stronger voice in the system.

Read more below...

The Issues:

While we knew our public education system was in crisis prior to the pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic only further demonstrated its failings and the need to immediately address them. The Mayor and former Chancellor were unable to adequately manage the NYC Department of Education (DOE) during the pandemic leading to even greater concerns about the lack of transparency from the DOE. As a public school parent, with twins enrolled in P.S. 81 this past September, I felt the direct impact of the DOE’s lack of planning and communication with families, and the stories I heard about the lack of resources for teachers and families in underfunded districts were truly egregious. Despite the best efforts of the incredibly dedicated principals, teachers, and staff, many New York City public school students, who are majority Black and Latinx students, were left without the support necessary to learn effectively via any education model (in-person, hybrid, or remote), leaving students and parents to feel even more disenfranchised by the current public school system. 

Historically, New York City schools have been under-resourced; they have never received their fair share of funding from the state and many schools still struggle with budgets far below their Fair Student funding levels, despite previous state and city budget surpluses. In addition, class sizes have risen sharply with more than 300,000 students enrolled in classes of 30 or more last year. In fact, city class sizes remain 15-30% higher than those in the rest of the state. 

We need to build an education system that is better for all New York City children, yet the DOE has been slow to make changes that would lead to a more equitable school system. Our city has one of the most segregated school systems in the nation; the needs of historically marginalized students have been passed over. For instance, currently, more than 40% of students with disabilities in New York City are not receiving their full services or are partially receiving mandated services or appropriate classroom placements. As well, the needs of our Multilingual Learners are not being met, as indicated by the Corrective Action Plan required by the New York State Education Department. These failings of the DOE must be addressed. 

Our Solutions:

Education is one of the most powerful tools for change in New York City. We cannot build back better without prioritizing the quality of the education of New York City’s next generation.

 

As your City Council Member, I will fight for all public school students to receive an equitable, high-quality education.

 

This will require a focus on addressing the root causes of inequality and inequity within the New York City public school system. In partnership with our City’s teachers, parents, students, administrators, and school staff, we will advance policies to ensure that schools in The Bronx and citywide serve every child.

Informed by our community’s priorities, and with a strong commitment to public education, diversity, equity, and inclusion, I will work to:

Prioritize initiatives and changes that will lead to a more equitable public school system for all students:
  • Reform the Gifted & Talented program so that every student has an opportunity for accelerated learning without having to test into a separate program. 

  • Require that all high schools and middle schools admit a balanced number of low- and high-achieving students as well as a significant share of students with exceptional learning needs, who are Multilingual Learners, and/or are over-age for their grade level. 

  • Implement culturally responsive-sustaining education and restorative justice in every school. 

  • Create a pipeline for Black and Latinx teachers and a pipeline for multilingual educators. 

  • Increase funding for DOE supports for students who are homeless, students in foster care, students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELLs), and students with mental health needs. 

  • Increase funding for translation and interpretation and ensure families get copies of documents, including Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and other special education documents, in their preferred language. 

  • Advocate for the DOE to provide parents of students with disabilities with easy access to their childrens’ records. 

  • Increase funding for evidence-based literacy instruction for all students, with and without disabilities. 

  • Create digital equity by ensuring that all DOE students have devices and the ability to get online, including supporting Council Members Kallos and Lewis’s Intro. 2138-2020, which requires the DOE to give every student that needs one a Wi-fi enabled laptop. 

  • Require the DOE to publish an annual progress report on the Corrective Action Plan for Multilingual Learners. 

  • Reform the contracting process to incentivize cultural and linguistic competence in social services contracts. 

  • Support our children’s health, and ability to learn and thrive, by prioritizing scratch cooking and food and nutrition education in schools.

Ensure New York City  schools receive their fair share of funding to guarantee all students an equitable opportunity to learn:
  • Ensure full state funding of City schools at originally agreed upon Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) levels.

  • Ensure that the DOE complies with the original Contracts for Excellence class size reduction plan and allocates specific funds for class size reduction—prioritizing struggling schools and/or schools with a high percentage of disadvantaged students.  

  • Reevaluate the school budgeting process, including the Fair Student Funding formula and other school based funding allocations, to ensure resources are distributed to schools based on the needs of students and the neediest schools are funded first. 

  • Enforce Local Law 167 to relieve overcrowding. 

  • Require developers to provide space for schools in overcrowded areas or pay “impact” fees into a fund for school construction, and reform zoning laws so schools must be built along with new housing

 

Change New York City’s public education system’s governance and increase transparency and accountability to give parents and community members a stronger voice in the system:
  • Support a system of control over the public education system shared between the Mayor and another group of officials, ideally an elected Board of Education with set terms, who cannot be fired at will by the Mayor. 

  • Allow the City Council checks and balances over DOE policies (municipal control). 

  • Allow the NYC Comptroller or their staff to provide comments on contracts before they are approved by the Panel for Education Policy. 

  • Increase transparency for each proposed DOE contract, such as releasing detailed information about each at least a month prior to the vote by the Panel for Education Policy. 

  • Require regular reporting to City Council as to which DOE vendors and other third parties have access to personal student information, whether their contracts and Parent Bill of Rights supplements are posted on the DOE website as state law requires, and report on the number and status of breachers and instances of unauthorized access to personal student information that occur every quarter to provide oversight and ensure enforcement of state Education Law 2D.