The New York City school systemwhich has some 1,700 schools in all five boroughs and where more than 900,000 students are educated, it’s not doing its homework right, it’s failing kids and is riddled with serious problems that continue to hold back the success of those who pass through their classrooms. data like that 65% of Black and Latino students are not achieving optimal levels training, and that in the last five years more than 120,000 students have left schools halfway through, they are just proof of the insufficient and disconnected work that has been done in schools.
This was admitted on Wednesday by the chancellor of education from the city David Bankswho surprised with a critical radiography of the Big Apple school system, which he presented before announcing a plan to transformation of schools.
The official assured that with a $38 billion annual budget on schoolsthe results are far from being those expected, so the implementation of a four-pillar plan seeks to improve teaching and learning processes, eliminate bureaucracy, better invest resources, train more qualified children, help teachers and principals , and solve a problem as basic as children learn to read well by the time they are in third grade.
“One hundred and twenty thousand families decided to leave with their feet and say: ‘We are going to look for other alternatives and other options’ for the children. That’s a strong accusation that illustrates the work we’ve done,” Banks said. the “mea culpa” of the City Department of Education (DOE), with which he warned of the urgency of recovering trust between parents and children about the work they are doing. “We spend $38 billion every year to get the results we have, where 65 percent of Black and Latino kids never reach the skills that are required.”
Reinvent the learning experience
Banks said that the plan first requires “reinvent the student learning experience“under a new set of commitments, called the Career Pathways Initiative, to be implemented in the fall. This includes the reinvention of virtual learning, which will remain an option.
“This includes piloting models that establish new career paths (including credits
college students), create a system-wide infrastructure to support that work (including new STEAM centers and increasing career-focused classrooms), and train our teachers and school leaders to support students in developing their passions and plans,” said the official, noting that the support will also be for teachers.
“Our reading teaching model has not given the results we need. So we are going to make sure that every one of our students receives solid instruction in reading and writing through phonics from a very young age. Our plan also includes teacher support and capacity building so they can implement effective strategies to help students with dyslexia,” added the DOE leader.
Secondlythe Chancellor highlighted that his vision of transforming schools will focus on “expand, maintain and restore what works”, identifying positive practices in the system
to spread and expand them, and become role models for other schools.
“We want to honor and highlight these teachers and administrators so all New York City schools know what they are doing. Too often, we criticize schools that are struggling and tell them they need to improve, but we don’t do a good job of telling them how they can be better,” the chancellor said. “For a long time we have had a system of winners and losers. When schools lose, so do students, families, communities, and our City. My wish is that we all win.”
will give priority to the well-being of children
The third point of the change plan is to givepriority to the well-being of children so that it influences good student achievement“, through the promotion of safe schools, access to green areas, more field trips, good quality nutrition and comprehensive support for the needs of students.
The vision of the Chancellor of Education highlights that healthy, safe, well-nourished, and intellectually stimulated students are better able to perform better, and the importance of create more ties with community organizationsto stop the violence and serve as support.
“We will work with reliable messengers and mentors in collaboration with community organizations
to help keep our schools safe. An important part of that is expanding conflict resolution and restorative justice training,” Banks said. “Collaborating with community partners to support school safety, mental health, attendance and enrichment activities is a positive thing.”
Finally the head of the schools mentioned that the fourth pillar of transformation is about “Involve families so that they can be allies in the implementation of changes“, because he understands that this is the number one factor to achieve an efficient transformation.
“Parents know their children. We know that when our experience as school educators joins the influence of families, magic happens: students perform well not only academically, but also physically, emotionally and socially”, explained the Chancellor.
“We are going to involve families in the creation and application of policies at all levels. I do not want to create policies in which families have not participated in the process”, emphasized the Chancellor.
Mayor acknowledges system flaws
The Mayor Eric Adams showed his support for Banks plan and also supported the Foreign Minister’s criticism, confirming that the public school system has failed students and families in the Big Apple for years. The Chancellor insisted that the deficiencies that must be addressed are many.
“Let’s be clear: COVID is not the only challenge facing our schools (…) Many of the students graduate from our schools unprepared for college or careers. A large number of schools continue to have security problems. Many of our schools are not academically challenging enough and do not offer accelerated learning opportunities,” said the Chancellor of Education. “An unacceptable number of third graders still can’t read. We have to face the harsh reality that in an education system that spends $38 billion a year, An average of two-thirds of Black and Latino students are not proficient in math and English“.
Banks stressed over and over again the need to start working differently, all connected to the same goal, so that the talent and commitment of the DOE and teachers achieve their goal.
“For our schools to live up to their initial promise to be engines of the American Dream for all of our students and their families, we will have to do things differently. to build trust one big step at a time,” said Banks, stating that there is a disconnect between schools, the Department of Education and training going forward. “Our schools have to connect students to the real world and to what is important to them. We need to provide meaningful academic experiences that are safe, fun, and engaging. Our schools must prepare students so that when they graduate they will excel in our economy“.
Banks mentioned that it is urgent that schools train students in matters such as financial managementcivic education, democratic participation and skills development so that it is guaranteed that when children graduate they have the necessary tools to get to university and have economic well-being.
“That is why Mayor Adams and I are truly committed to transforming our system so that each and every one of our students graduates with the possibility of a rewarding career, long-term economic security and prepared to be a positive force for change”, warned the Chancellor of the DOE.
Banks, who graduated from a city public school like Mayor Adams, also said he gave the order to reorganize headquarters so that “every penny of taxpayer money is used productively.” As a first change announced the elimination of the position of Executive Superintendent, of which he said, there is no point in conserving when the schools are not at the level they should be and it generates more bureaucracy. Instead, he gave his support to the school superintendents, but to guarantee that the best are in those positions, he informed that each of them should reapply to their job to analyze if they meet the objective of being officials who help the principals. of schools with innovative plans”.
The Chancellor of Education stressed that he is not “playing at being the head of the schools”but since the day he took office, he has been working on making improvements, and one of them has been that in a month and a half has managed to increase the attendance rate in schools from 65% to 89%.
NYC Schools Transformation Vision Points
- The aim is to make the organization more efficient and to focus everything on supporting schools.
- Develop quality care and education for children from birth to 5 years.
- Use the teaching of reading and writing through phonics so that all students are able to read in third grade.
- Adopt new screening methods to identify dyslexia and other problems at an early age, in order to respond more effectively.
- Create strong new collaborations with partners in the private and nonprofit sectors with the primary goal of ensuring long-term economic security for all students.
- Promote a commitment to ensure that all students leave high school with a diploma and the chance to get a good job and a college career.
- Use technology to facilitate the ability of schools to share best practices and learn from each other.
- Leverage effective initiatives to support the social and emotional needs of students and families following the traumas of the pandemic.
- Strengthen early childhood education.
- Promote the reinvention of virtual learning, creating a digital learning advisory committee with educators, administrators, families and students.
- Recover the confidence of families in the school system urgently.
- Eliminate the position of Executive Superintendent of Schools to curb bureaucracy.
- Call for the hiring of about 1,000 school security officers to fill the current 1,500 vacancies.