Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Max Politics Podcast: The State of CUNY, with Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez

    CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez (photo: CUNY)

    June 23, 2022 - Max Politics Podcast: Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez on the State of CUNY

    CUNY Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez joined the show to discuss the "state of CUNY," including his message to this year's graduates, how CUNY is working to better prepare graduates for jobs and careers, pandemic enrollment challenges, hiring additional full-time professors, and much more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • 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,

  • We Need a Comprehensive Education Plan to Get Our Children Back on Track

    Helping students recover (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    “Have you been reading to your child and teaching them about letters daily? Ever since the pandemic, we have seen a delay in letter recognition and this is a very important skill for kindergarten children.”

    This is what was conveyed to each of us individually when we brought our children to tutors to assess whether they were on track to learn to read. As working mothers who engage with schools on a daily basis, it was very difficult for us to

  • State Budget Includes Big Boost for CUNY

    City University of New York (photo: CUNY)

    The $220 billion state budget passed by Governor Kathy Hochul and the state Legislature over the weekend included a significant increase in operational and capital funding for CUNY, the City University of New York that educates roughly 275,000 students across 25 schools.

    The new funding will help cover student tuition assistance, faculty hiring, child care programs, fringe benefits for staffers and more. But while significant, the increase of roughly $240 million in CUNY

  • 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.

  • To Boost the City's Recovery, Get ‘Learning Leaders’ Back in School

    Parents back to school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography)

    Two non-profit organizations I led later closed down, for very different reasons. One, the September 11th Fund, closed in 2004, having allocated all its funds and determining that many other organizations were in place to continue to provide funding and services to victims of 9/11. This was the right, though difficult thing to do, and it probably should happen more often. 

    But sometimes a

  • ‘Go Visit Charter Schools’: NYC Charter School Center CEO James Merriman on Growth, Challenges, and Raising the Cap

    A past rally for charter schools with James Merriman, right (photo: @nyccharters)

    “We have a lot more friends in private than we do in public,” James Merriman, the CEO of the New York City Charter School Center, told host Ben Max in a recent conversation on Gotham Gazette’s Max Politics podcast. Half-joking about the political environment related to charter schools in New York, Merriman outlined the current duality for the controversial sector of privately-run public schools:

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • ‘We Need Historic Leadership from Biden and Schumer’: Jamaal Bowman on ‘Build Back Better’ Negotiations, Mayor-elect Adams, & More

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    Rep. Jamaal Bowman in Washington, D.C. (photo: @RepBowman)

    U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman says he is optimistic about the incoming mayoral administration, even going so far as to say Eric Adams has the potential to be “one of the best mayors in New York City history,” but he’s less bullish about the state of Build Back Better in Congress, owing to what he describes as donor-driven obstruction by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

    Bowman, a freshman legislator who represents the Bronx and Westchester in Congress after defeating longtime incumbent Eliot Engel in a Democratic

  • Max Politics Podcast: Rep. Jamaal Bowman on 'Build Back Better,' Democratic Compromise, & More

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    Rep. Bowman with top New York leaders (photo: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

    December 21, 2021 - Rep. Jamaal Bowman on 'Build Back Better,' Voting Rights, & More

    Congressional Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a first-term progressive representing New York's 16th Congressional District, which covers parts of the Bronx and Westchester, joined the show to discuss where things stand on 'Build Back Better' and other top items on his agenda, how Democrats can come to a compromise on the massive

  • Max Politics Podcast: A New Deal for CUNY?

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    PSC CUNY President James Davis (photo courtesy of Professional Staff Congress)

    December 15, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: A New Deal for CUNY?

    James Davis, President of the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, joined the show to discuss where things stand at the City University of New York and the push by his union and its allies for reforms, increased funding, and a "New Deal for CUNY."

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • 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

  • On School Admissions, New York City’s Next Step Must be Forward, Not Back

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    Mayor de Blasio at an education announcement (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

    Once again, New York City public school students and families are experiencing whiplash. Last year, the city took steps to improve equity, transparency, and accountability in high school admissions. Now, at the eleventh hour of the next admissions cycle, Mayor de Blasio announced he might back away from last year’s promise to eliminate geographic priorities for high schools.

    We can’t have any geographic priorities reinstated — they prioritize school

  • 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

  • Universal Access to Music Education for All New York City Students Should Be a Top Priority

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    Music for all (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    While Dr. Miguel Cardona, the US Secretary for Education says “music is a way for students to find themselves and learn critical thinking skills,” over 50% of New York City schools have no full-time music teacher. Cardona thinks—and I agree—that music education is

  • Adults Need to Grow Up If We Want to Keep Our Kids Safe

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    Back to school (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    We’ve all seen the news lately. It’s rife with images of chaotic school board meetings and rallies starring adults engaged in tantrums, which we would never tolerate from our children. Every parent wants what they believe is best for their children. However, if we want them to get back to school safely, the adults in the metaphorical room need to stop fighting and adhere to public health guidelines.

    As health care professionals, our message is that children should safely

  • 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

  • Back to School Can’t Mean Back to Hunger; Here’s the Food Security Plan New York City Must Implement for Its Students

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    Mayor de Blasio at a school food site (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    In just a few weeks, more than 1 million New York City kids will head back to their school buildings — most of them for the first time since March 2020.

    But the imminent return to a new normal in the classroom shouldn’t mean a return to the status quo when it comes to one of the biggest challenges our young people continue to face: hunger.

    Before the pandemic, one in five New York City children struggled with hunger, meaning their families lacked the