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  • Policy Agenda
  • Vision for NYC Schools: Recommendations for the Next Administration

    Mayor-elect Eric Adams will take office at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the longstanding inequities in our City’s schools. Based on our 50 years of on-the-ground experience helping students and families navigate the largest school system in the country and get the support they need to learn, we outline some of the most pressing challenges in public education — including those that pre-date COVID — where the incoming Mayor must be prepared to focus attention, energy, and resources.

    Nov 3, 2021

    Hands typing on a laptop. (Photo by wavebreak3, Adobe Stock)
    Photo by wavebreak3, Adobe Stock

    The next administration will be responsible for the implementation of a comprehensive COVID-19 recovery effort to address the educational fallout of the pandemic and must ensure that evidence-based instructional and social-emotional support are targeted to the students who need it most. Recovery efforts should be responsive to the disparate impact of the pandemic on low-income communities of color and provide additional tailored interventions to students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs), who faced unique challenges during remote learning and missed months of specialized supports they have a legal right to receive. Without leadership from City Hall and a continued commitment of significant resources to ensure all students get back on track, the pandemic’s impact on NYC’s young people will have ripple effects for decades to come.

    We call on the next Mayor to lead the charge on some of the most pressing challenges in public education:

    Effective literacy instruction and intervention.

    Revamp literacy instruction and intervention so that every child becomes a skilled reader and NYC becomes a national model for literacy development.

    Social-emotional & mental health supports for students and police-free schools.

    Enhance mental health support and reimagine school safety in police-free and anti-racist schools.

    Language access for families.

    Increase access to translation and interpretation services and improve communication with families to ensure that every parent, including parents with limited English proficiency or low digital literacy, can participate in their child’s education.

    Support for students with disabilities.

    Develop a multi-year plan to address chronic shortages in the special education system and ensure all students with disabilities receive the individualized supports and services they need.

    Support for English Language Learners.

    Develop a multi-year plan to expand dual language and bilingual programs, create new programs to support older English Language Learners, and recruit more bilingual teachers and service providers.

    Support for students experiencing homelessness & students in foster care.

    Launch an interagency initiative to tackle educational barriers for students who are homeless and move forward with recent plans to hire dedicated DOE staff to address the unique needs of students in foster care.

    Promote school integration and improve equity in admissions.

    Address barriers to admissions for students from historically marginalized communities and build inclusive, supportive, and effective school environments where all students can thrive.

    While immense challenges to our school system await the Adams administration, so do considerable opportunities to create long-lasting change and develop a comprehensive education system from birth through high school that works for all students and families. As we recover from the pandemic, the new Mayor should seize this opportunity and work alongside educators, parents, students, community partners, and other stakeholders to create a more equitable and inclusive school system that provides an excellent education to all students.