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Department of Education

Department of Education

  • How ‘Gifted and Talented’ Shows the Failures of One Man Rule of Our Schools

     

    Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Last week, community school districts across New York City submitted their plans for the schools chancellor’s new, unimaginative Gifted and Talented program. Last month, the Department of Education announced that superintendents would work with local Community Education Councils to determine the sites for third grade G&T programs in their districts. While Chancellor David Banks, with support from Mayor Eric Adams, who appointed him, has claimed to value “authentic parent,

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  • Resilient Public Schools are Key to Our Children’s and Our City’s Future

    The future of schools in NYC (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Two years after lockdown, we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic. Mask and vaccine mandates have been rolled back across the state, and we’re eager to return to some kind of ‘normal.’ We have a new mayor and a new City Council, being tested for the first time. And we’re at a crossroads: what lessons have we learned? How can we ensure that our city is resilient, not just in the face of another health crisis or a new variant, but universally?

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  • Food for Thought: Healthy School Meals are a No-Brainer

    The Mayor & Chancellor at School (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    When Mayor Adams launched his campaign to improve school nutrition, he opened the door to solving a devastating and long-neglected issue that has left generations of New York City students without the fuel they need to get through the day.

    We’ve all seen photos of disappointing school lunches over the years — the same sloppy joe’s, wilted veggies, and lukewarm pizza that generations of New York City students have sadly grown up on for decades.

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  • As City Pilots New Weapons Scanner in Bronx Hospital, Adams Eyes Expansion Into Schools

    Scanners at work (photo: Evolv Technology)


    New York City is currently running a pilot program at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx using an advanced weapon detection system created by Evolv Technology, a Massachusetts-based security technology firm, and Mayor Eric Adams has indicated that the technology could eventually be rolled out in schools across the city.

    In the wake of several incidents of gun violence in the city this year, Mayor Adams has...

  • Max Politics Podcast: The Growth of Charter Schools in New York City

    NYC Charter School Center CEO James Merriman, left (photo: @nyccharters)


    February 22, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: The Growth of Charter Schools in New York City

    Why We Welcome Vegan Fridays in New York City Schools

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    Mayor Adams at a vegan cooking demo (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The Adams administration recently announced that plant-based meals, free of animal products except for federally-required fluid milk, would be served across the New York City public school system on Fridays. Mayor Adams had been crystal clear throughout his campaign about the connection between food and health: “We must stop feeding the crisis.”

    Because city schools serve nearly 1 million meals each day, rolling out the program

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  • It’s Time for a Democratic School Governance System in New York City to Replace Mayoral Control

    Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office

    Students at school (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    Our more than 1,600 schools have been under “mayoral control” since 2003 when the New York State legislature gave New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg full control of the school system. The City Board of Education (which former Mayor Bloomberg unofficially renamed the Panel for Educational Policy) has the power to approve contracts, budgets, regulations, “standards, policies and objectives” related to educational achievement and student performance, but is made up of a

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  • 4 Ways Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks Can Support Our Most Vulnerable Students

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    Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks at a school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In an interview late last year, New York City’s new schools chancellor, David Banks, vowed to “transform the lives of…[New York City] children, but particularly Black and brown children who have struggled the most in this system.” While all students have struggled during the pandemic,...

  • The Sizable Downside of De Blasio’s Education Record

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    Mayor de Blasio at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    When he first ran for Mayor, Bill de Blasio portrayed himself as a leader who would make a host  of progressive changes in our schools. He promised to be a far different leader than Michael Bloomberg, who had expanded high-stakes testing, proceeded to grade teachers and schools primarily via test scores, closed dozens of public schools displacing thousands of students, and helped charter schools expand in their place. 

    Bloomberg and his schools chancellors had done all

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  • How is New York City Assessing High School Students’ Social and Emotional Skills?

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    Students back at school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    The pandemic has exacerbated the mental health risks faced by students in our public schools. Last spring, in an effort to monitor students' social-emotional health, the de Blasio administration awarded an $18 million contract to Aperture Education, a South Carolina-based “social enterprise” founded in 2017, to assess students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) at at all grade levels. As a public high school student, I am

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  • New York Needs Leaders Who Think School Safety is Important

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    Kids and teachers safe in school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if we had a mayor who thought school safety was important. Bill de Blasio didn’t, or he wouldn’t have placed the ridiculous plan we’ve had since September into effect. Eric Adams doesn’t, or he wouldn’t have rubber-stamped the ‘doubling’ of the anemic de Blasio plan.

    Here’s the problem. You can say we’re testing 10%, 20%, or whatever percentage you choose for covid, but it’s not a real figure unless you’re talking about everyone. Right now, we are

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  • Max Politics Podcast: Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew on Pandemic Schooling, Class Sizes, & Mayor-Elect Adams

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    UFT President Michael Mulgrew (photo: @UFT)


    December 7, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: Teachers Union President Michael Mulgrew on Pandemic Schooling, Class Sizes, & Mayor-Elect Adams

    New York City teachers union president Michael Mulgrew joined the show to discuss where things stand in city schools amid another pandemic school year, vaccine mandates and covid testing, learning loss and other classroom themes, the UFT's relationship with Mayor-elect Eric Adams, and more.

    Listen to the

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  • The Big, Bold Idea of Smaller Class Sizes

    Gotham Gazette The Big, Bold Idea of Smaller Class Sizes

    Students (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    This week, the City Council heard debate about a bill that would require the New York City Department of Education to cap how many people it can squeeze into our classrooms. The purpose is to ensure better ventilation and reduce the possibility of viral spread — a health safeguard in the era of COVID-19.

    The end result would be fewer students in each classroom — a reduction in class size that New York City students, families, and educators have been

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  • The Major Problems with New York City’s School Reopening Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio and school kids (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Despite New York City Department of Education officials’ claims during this past week’s City Council hearing that the city’s school reopening plan for this fall represents “the gold standard,” the reality is that the plan is riddled with profound flaws.

    First, and perhaps

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  • 6 Years After DOE Yeshiva Complaint, City Yet to Take Action as Kids Suffer

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    (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Six years ago, I filed a complaint with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) alongside 51 others because there are dozens of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Yeshivas in our city that do not provide their students with an adequate secular education, as required by law.

    As a result of the complaint, the city announced an investigation on July 28, 2015. Yet now more than six years later, despite ...

  • City Council Schedules Oversight Hearing on NYC School Reopening

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    Council Speaker Johnson, right, and Council Member Treyger (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    UPDATE: On Saturday August 21, following the publication of this article on the evening of Thursday August 19, the City Council scheduled an oversight hearing by the education committee on the city's school reopening plans for Wednesday September 1. The hearing will come less than two weeks before the first official day of school for more than 900,000 public school students on Monday September 13. The article below has been

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  • No Equity or Excellence as Mayor and DOE Abandon Overcrowded Schools

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    School during covid (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    For years we’ve heard from the mayor and his schools chancellors that our Department of Education is all about “equity and excellence.” Lofty goals, lofty promises, and grand announcements of progress have followed, giving the impression that we are much further along than we really are. You may not share the DOE’s faith in utopia, but my school, Francis Lewis High School, is located right on Utopia Parkway in Queens. 

    This notwithstanding, I’m not persuaded. Next school

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  • Mayor de Blasio: Where's the Full School Reopening Plan?

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    Mayor de Blasio at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    I’m writing this on June 25—the last day of the 2020-2021 school year.

    And while we know next school year will start on September 13, there's so much we still don't know.

    There are some factors—vaccination rate, CDC guidelines—that are holding up some of the details, but the lack of a clear plan and clear communication from Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Department of Education now promises some amount of chaos two months from now. And for those of us

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  • Moving Toward a Full Reopening of New York City Schools — The Time is Now

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    Kids back at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    On Tuesday, April 27, my kids returned to full-time in-person school for the first time since Friday the 13th of March, 2020. But approximately 600,000 kids in New York City are still learning from home. We must do better.

    One surprising outcome of this pandemic: My three elementary school daughters -- Sadie, Juno and Ruby -- were thrilled at the promise of more time in the classroom. Their first morning back had the first-day-of-school energy as they giggled at reuniting friends

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  • Democratic Mayoral Candidates Stake Out Education Policy Positions

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    Pandemic education (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Leading Democratic candidates for mayor have appeared at several recent forums to outline their priorities on education and the possibility of running the country’s largest school system, as well as their strategies for achieving those aims. Discussion at the various forums, hosted by a number of diverse groups, was often focused on how the mayoral hopefuls would shape equitable and inclusive educational policy for New York City students, especially amid the fallout of the coronavirus

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  • Cancel the Gifted and Talented Test Now, Not Next Year

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    The Mayor, First Lady, & Chancellor at a school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    Last week, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carranza announced that they will administer the controversial and problematic test for admissions to “gifted and talented” classes this spring, for perhaps a final year. Then: 

    “We will spend the next year engaging communities around what kind of programming they would like to see that is more inclusive, enriching, and truly supports the needs of academically advanced and diversely talented students at a more appropriate

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  • For Schools, Communities and Families to Recover from Covid, We Need More Women in Leadership

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    The men making schools decisions (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    School reopening has been a particular challenge for women in New York City. From lack of communication between the Department of Education, staff, and caregivers, constantly changing schedules, failure to invest in a care economy that values domestic labor and childcare, lack of tech support, and lack of funding to the daily demands of remote learning and the material conditions in schools, women have been hit hardest by the struggles our schools face. 

    As we think about how

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  • Where To Go with Mayoral Control

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    Mayor de Blasio at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Mayor de Blasio's mishandling of the public school pandemic response has led to calls to reform or replace mayoral control of New York City schools.

    Almost six years ago, I wrote in these pages advocating the case for mayoral control based on the still-valid theory that quality education depends on maximum funding based on the Mayor's control of the city budget and the need for political

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  • City's Black and Hispanic Youth Face Dire Need for Mental Health Care

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    Students back in school amid a pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects for children across New York City and State, as well as their families, like the loss of a loved one, economic distress, food insecurity, and the shutdown of school buildings, switch to remote learning, and lack of in-person social connections.

    During the first five months of the pandemic, an estimated 4,200 of 4 million children in the state lost a parent or caregiver to coronavirus, a rate of more than one out of every 1,000, according to a

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  • Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger on What's Next for City Schools

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    Council Member Mark Treyger, right (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    November 18, 2020 - Max & Murphy Podcast: City Council Education Chair Mark Treyger on What's Next for City Schools

    Brooklyn City Council Member Mark Treyger, chair of the Council's education committee and a former teacher, joined the show to discuss the closure of city school buildings and what's next, including a proposal he has for how to restructure in-person learning.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter ...