As a former public school counselor, Jorge knows that our public schools are the cradle of our population. They are where our children learn and become inspired to pursue careers which keep our culture and economy thriving. Last year, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City public schools reached record safety and graduation rates, but our fight does not end here.
Jorge plans to focus on integration, programming, overcrowding, service, and the school-to-prison pipeline.
The STEM programs in our schools need to adapt to the times. As the ability to code is in greater and greater demand, we have to ensure that coding classes are available to our students. This is particularly important to develop as we attempt to close the gender gap in the world of technology. We also need to ensure that our public schools place more emphasis on bringing arts and music back into the core curriculum and including activities like yoga to stimulate social, mental, and physical development. The after-school programs available to children throughout the district should be expanded in order to enhance the social and academic education of children and increase the flexibility of working parents.
New York’s public school system is one of the most segregated in the country. Less than one third of schools citywide are racially representative. For years, politicians have been telling us that this is inevitable based on the city’s residential racial distribution, but this is not the sole problem with our school system. New York’s gerrymandered and unjust community school districts make it impossible for our public schools to represent the population of their districts and for many of these residents to get the education that they deserve. New York City schools must be rezoned to ensure that public schools reflect and serve the diverse population of the city with equal resources.
Schools are overcrowded and classes are too large. We need more schools and more teachers. We need to make sure that the Office of District Planning and the Office of School Design works more closely with a group of parents, district advocates for diversity and education, and the City Council to ensure that our children are getting the resources they need.
Our school systems need to cater better to students with disabilities, in temporary housing, and English Language Learners. The recently released plan to increase diversity in NYC: “Equity and Excellence for All: Diversity in New York City’s Public Schools” does address these issues, it has to be well enforced.
School to Prison Pipeline
We have to ensure that our children are protected from incarceration for misdemeanors. The criminal system discriminates against youth of color, and economically disadvantaged youth. We must ensure that students who commit misdemeanors remain in school and graduate. We must change the narrative that imprisonment is “safer” for students and place an emphasis on successful education.
Jorge will be attentive to the needs of our schools, to the concerns of all parents and constituents, and to the youth themselves. Please join me in changing our school systems for the better.