Friday, November 15, 2013

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's Education Promises

On June 14, 2013, at a candidate forum held at Murray Bergtraum High School, Bill de Blasio pledged to follow through on the following education policies if elected mayor, and signed a document containing these promises. (These are marked as Forum below.) In response to a survey sent to all the mayoral candidates by NYC Kids PAC, de Blasio made other promises. (These are marked as Survey below.)

We have also included below certain key pledges from press releases from his campaign and a quote from one of the first mayoral debates.If you know of other important education promises de Blasio made during his campaign, please add them below, along with citations.  Thanks!
·         Institute a public screening process in choosing the Chancellor (GothamSchools on Nov. 20, 2012 Debate)
·         Only select a chancellor who does not require a waiver. (Survey)
·         Restore the district structure, with a superintendent who supervises principals and provides access for parents with issues and problems. (Survey)
·         Support a change in the law so that members of the Board of Education (currently called the Panel for Educational Policy) have set terms and cannot be fired at will by the mayor. (Survey)
·         Ensure that all Board of Education members are given at least two weeks to discuss the policy ideas at hand before bringing them to a vote. (Survey)
·         Raise the level of significance of the Community Education Councils. (Survey)
·         Allow CEC’s to vote on major school utilization changes in their communities and require the Board of Education address the CEC position on major school utilization changes during their meetings and work with the local CEC for alternative solutions. (Survey)
·         Work with the CEC’s to develop district plans and portfolio assessments within their respective communities to get an understanding what schools need to grow, what schools have space and what schools are struggling. (Survey)
·         Improve the role of the Citywide Education Councils (High School, Special Education, English Language Learners, D 75) by ensuring they provide written recommendations to the Board of Education on policy issues related to their respective councils. (Survey)
Special Education and Busing
·         DOE will seek recommendations from an independent commission on school busing, with representation from disability advocates, unions and parent groups, on standards for screening bidders, creating routes, safety, training, and fair labor practices. (Forum)
·         Provide independent monitoring to determine whether students with disabilities are receiving all their mandated services. (Forum)
·         Agree to commission a report, in consultation with Citywide Council on Special Education and the District 75 Citywide Council, by an independent research group on the implementation of the special education inclusion reform, including survey results from parents, students, administrators and educators at the school level. (Survey)
·         Continue to increase the learning opportunities for all students, especially students with disabilities who are most vulnerable. (Survey)
·         Survey parents of children with disabilities to get an understanding of the related services that are not being met. (Survey)

Support staff
·         Provide dedicated funding for positions of school support staff and parent coordinators, and redefine the position of parent coordinator so that parents have substantive input into their job description, hiring, and evaluation. (Forum)

Parent Engagement
·         Support a change in the State Education law so that all district public school parents have the right to vote for Community Education Council members. (Forum)
·         Ensure that all PTA and CEC meetings are streamed online for parents who are unable to attend. (Survey)
·         Create customer service guidelines for all schools by identifying model parent engagement schools and mirror these practices across the school system. In addition, provide training and guidance to ensure every school and DOE office welcomes and respects families. (Survey)
·         Rescind the ban on prohibiting students from bringing their cell phones to school. (Survey)

Preschool and Early Education

·         Prioritize expanding and improving early education by providing universal pre-K. (Survey)
·         Ensure that children, especially young children of color, are being given the resources they need to succeed prior to being referred to special education. This includes an emphasis on pre-kindergarten and early intervention. (Survey)
·         Create Early Education Centers within communities that will free up classroom space currently used for pre-kindergarten in community schools. (Survey)
·         Provide after-school programs for all middle school students. (Survey)
Class Size
·         Fight for the $3 billion in court-ordered state funding owed to NYC to reduce class sizes as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. (Survey)
·         Commit to specific class size reduction goals to achieve by the end of first mayoral term and if necessary, raise revenue to fund this. (Forum and Survey)
·         Comply with the plan the city adopted in 2007, as a response to the Contracts for Excellence law, calling for class size reduction in all grades. (Survey)
·         Audit the Contracts for Excellence budget to see how the city can re-prioritize reducing class size. (Survey)
·         Work with school supervisors and principals to adjust the school day schedule and maximize staff time with students. (Survey)
·         Re-evaluate “fair student funding” to discern whether it has provided more equity or, instead, incentives to principals to increase class size and/or get rid of their experienced teachers. (Survey)
·         Create Early Education Centers within communities that will free up classroom space currently used for pre-kindergarten in community schools. (Survey)

School overcrowding
·         Support a more ambitious capital plan that will provide the space necessary to eliminate overcrowding and allow for smaller classes as well as devote sufficient funds for maintenance and repair. (Forum and Survey)
·         Reform the blue book formula so it more accurately reflects overcrowding and incorporates the need for smaller classes. (Survey)
·         Commit to providing transparent enrollment projections. (Survey)
Spending priorities and privatization
·         Reduce the spending on privatization, outsourcing, contracts and consultants. (Survey)
·         Thoroughly evaluate all DOE contracts, maintaining contracts that are producing positive results for our schools. (Survey)
·         Focus on retaining talent “in-house” therefore eliminating unnecessary contracts. (Survey)
·         Develop protocols that will prevent the awarding of contracts to companies that have already shown to have stolen funds. (Survey)
·         Have a Moratorium on co-locations. (Press Release 9/3/2013)
·         Enforce provisions in state law, requiring co-located charter schools pay for the services and space that they receive from the DOE. (Forum and Survey)
·         Require more information on how co-locations will impact programs for students with disabilities in the building, establishing additional venues for parents to relay their concerns, and a process in which the DOE responds to parent's concerns. (Survey)

Small schools, vocational schools and online learning

·         Relax the requirement that all new schools be of a small size. (Survey)
·         Ensure that students have full, face-to-face, in-person access to teacher, or continue to expand online learning as the alternative. (Survey)
·         Improve Career and Technical Education programs. (Survey)
·         Focus on ensuring there are quality schools in EVERY neighborhood. (Survey)

Help schools improve rather than close them

·         Have a moratorium on school closures. (Press Release 9/3/2013)
·         Support rather than close struggling schools. (Survey)
·         Create an early warning system for schools that are falling further behind. (Survey)
·         Schools identified as struggling will receive targeted support through a new “Office of Strategic Supports” housed in the DOE that will develop intervention strategies in conjunction with the school communities and target individual high-need schools which will receive short-term, intensive support. (Survey)

Transparency and Accountability
·         Carry out itemized, fully detailed breakdowns of education budget comparable to other city agencies. (Survey)
·         Respond to FOILs in a timely and complete fashion. (Survey)
·         Provide an online log which reports on which FOILs have been submitted and when they were responded to, with a link to the results [along the model of the Illinois board of education; see] (Survey)
·         Require more accurate reporting of class size and overcrowding. (Survey)
·         Commission independent and objective studies of major education initiatives. (Survey)

·         Stop the sharing of highly sensitive information to vendors by the City without full parental knowledge and consent (Forum and Survey)
·         Pull NYC student data out of the inBloom cloud as soon as possible. (Survey)

·         Minimize the use of high-stakes standardized tests and agree to not use tests to decide which schools to close and which students to be held back. (Forum)
·         Craft a teacher evaluation system that depends as little as possible on standardized test scores. (Survey)
·         Refuse to expand standardized testing into other grades (Pre-K to 2nd). (Survey)
·         Pledge not to create new local standardized exams. (Survey)
·         Make admissions to all schools based on more holistic factors, and especially Gifted and Talented programs and the specialized high schools. (Survey)
·         Encourage other NYC high schools to join the portfolio/alternative assessment consortium as opposed to basing graduation decisions on the results of the Regents exams. (Survey)
·         Develop a non-punitive process by which NYC parents can choose to have their children opt-out of standardized testing. (Survey)
Community schools
·         Expand the community school model, which helps address mental health needs in our City’s school system. (Survey)

After School 
·         Dedicate funding for meaningful community-based after school programs. (Forum)


·         Build capacity in schools for positive discipline strategies, and expand student support services through multi-agency/service provider collaboration. (Survey)
·         Adopt a Graduated Response Protocol to resolve student misbehavior at school level. (Survey)
·         Focus the role of School Safety Agents (SSA) on behavior that requires law enforcement response, by integrating SSA's with school administration team and conduct conferencing between SSAs and principals prior to arrests. (Survey)

·         Ensure that curriculum, teaching, and hiring practices in all New York City public schools reflect the culture, history and language of the diversity of the City’s students. (Forum)
·         Commit to issuing a substantive policy paper by August 1st, explaining how to address the external conditions/outside school factors that cause the achievement gap based on race, class and zip code. (Forum)
·         Make sure that all children, regardless of socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity have access to our City's selective and specialized high schools. (Survey)

Arts Education
·         Launch a NYC Arts Instruction Campaign to raise private, philanthropic funding to support expansion of arts education (Survey)

Quality Teaching
·         Work to create career paths that encourage quality teachers to remain in teaching. (Survey)

1 comment:

josh Karan said...

This is a very useful list.

Let's have thousands of us send it to the Transition Team to help ensure that these are more than campaign promises.

Josh Karan
District 6
Washington Heights, Inwood, Hamilton Heigts
northern Manhattan