Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Education

Education

  • de blasio visits school

    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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  • schools students covid safety

    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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  • classroom covid

    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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  • bowman dc bbb

    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

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  • 51420999417 fa02dcf8de c

    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

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  • psc president james davis march 600

    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 ...

  • uft mulgrew de blasio600

    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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  • schoo anno edu

    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

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  • 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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  • leg0club city

    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

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  • schools chance porter

    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

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  • chancellor rising off

    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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  • hunger back food

    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

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  • 1 city holds oversight scho plans

    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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  • equity for art

    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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  • CUNY Looks Ahead to Uncertain School Year

    On campus at CUNY (photo: @cunyedu)


    The City University of New York, CUNY, is facing budget constraints, student enrollment questions, union demands, covid vaccination pressure, and other challenges as its long-awaited in-person reopening approaches. COVID-19 and the Delta variant that has been spreading in the city has heightened concerns about those reopening plans, while university leadership, faculty, staff, and students continue to plot and implement ways to improve the academic, economic, and mental health of the student body

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  • 4 reopen quality

    The mayor and schools chancellor at a school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The next Mayor of New York City will need to ensure that communities hit hardest by COVID-19 can not only recover, but achieve greater economic security and prosperity in the future.

    Recovery after covid and the creation of green, healthy schools for all go together.

    As part of the full re-opening of the public school system, city government should prioritize installing HVAC systems and solar energy in every school. Doing so will enhance air

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  • mhc middle school

    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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  • first lady parkside

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


    The full in-person public school re-opening won’t be a return to normal for the New York City school children who have suffered most from 16 months of covid turbulence, exacerbated by histories of systemic and structural racism. Their outlook on life has fundamentally changed. 

    As Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter has acknowledged, we need more social workers in schools, lifting students’ voices. But unless we as social workers and educators can also shift our approach to

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  • maya wil edit

    Maya Wiley (photo: @mayawiley)


    Maya Wiley is seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor as one of the leading progressives in the race, leaning heavily on her accolades as a civil rights attorney. Her education platform includes a number of the most aggressive and embattled proposals to integrate the city’s deeply segregated schools and she has said her position is forged by her own experience going to a segregated elementary school. But as she has sought the progressive mantle and pledged decisive action toward racial equality, Wiley has not emphasized school

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  • big dreams federal

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


    In 1951, Langston Hughes famously asked, “what happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun, or fester like a sore and then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”  

    For years, the dreams of children in our community have been deferred. They have been deferred through an army of overcrowded classes, an assembly line of underfunded schools,

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  • daily life imagery

    Kids in Brooklyn (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    Just when you thought the world of New York City yeshiva education couldn’t get any more like “Alice in Wonderland,” along comes a new ruling by New York State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa that, in Lewis Carroll's words, just makes the years-long dispute over lack of secular education at Hasidic yeshivas "curiouser and curiouser." 

    Here’s the background: In September 2019,

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  • delivers remarks send

    Nurses help (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Dear Mayor de Blasio and other city budget decision-makers,

    The federal government recently provided funds for our school system to recover from the pandemic as part of the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER). In addition, New York State has fully funded the Foundation Aid formula for the first time since 2007. A public health crisis brought our city to a grinding halt in early 2020, and the decade-old school nurse crisis has

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  • moving toward a

    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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  • 5 community schools answer

    A community school celebration (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Dear Candidates for Mayor:

    Among the myriad issues you are discussing during public forums and interviews, none is more important than the education of New York City’s children and adolescents. You have responded to, and raised, several aspects of our educational landscape in these venues but we have heard precious little about whether you support expansion of the city’s community schools initiative, an effort that began in response to a de Blasio campaign

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