It may not seem like it right now, but as the virus recedes, we will once again see that our public schools anchor our neighborhoods, give strength to our communities. That’s why I am so committed to putting the public school system front and center on the Manhattan Borough President’s trail.
In 2021, it is still true that your zip code determines a great deal of your potential because our homes, our jobs market, green space and our schools are irrevocably tied to one another. It’s wrong, it’s racist, and it’s sexist, but that’s how our city was designed, and we need really thoughtful, imaginative leaders to right the wrongs that have been so significantly magnified in the last year.
If we can move the needle on five key areas of the school system, we will begin to see transformational change in other areas. I call this plan — Giving Public Schools Back to the Public, and I am already hard at work on the first objective:
- Advocate for the end of Mayoral Control. The Mayor should not have authoritarian level control over our school system. We need common sense checks and balances, and the New York State government will be forced to legislate this issue in June 2022.
- Champion budget justice at the state level — NYC does NOT get what we give the transition of funding for schools to one associated with essential operations; leaders have said for years that they would establish school size guidelines for solvent operations yet have never done so. All schools should be able to afford the staff, materials, and programs that they need.
- Stop the Privatization of public schools — the charter school issue is a nuanced one, but the fact remains that Upper Manhattan is choked with charter schools, many of which have amassed mega-million dollar endowments along with receiving their tax payer dollars. It is a racket my friends, and we need to fight for a system that does not help one child only to harm another.
- Fix the school nurse and social worker shortages — we need all schools to be staffed with these critical personnel full-time.
- Bring elected leaders into the borough board — communications, redundancies, and political infighting plague what little oversight stakeholders have with the DOE. CEC elections should be run by the Board of Elections, and CEC Presidents should become members of the borough board, along with Community Board and Borough members of the City Council.
Please take a look at the Issues page on our website to learn more about my priorities. It’s also where more detailed plans will appear as we get further into the campaign.