Chris knows that well-educated and well-prepared kids are the key to New York City’s future. That’s why she has focused on early childhood education, improving our middle schools, protecting teachers from lay-offs and making it easier for parents to navigate the school bureaucracy.
As Speaker, Chris:
- Expanded full day pre-K by nearly 4,000 seats.
- Secured $25 million for the lowest performing middle schools to improve education for thousands of school children.
- Saved more than 4,000 teachers from layoffs in the 2011-2012 budget.
- Restored cuts to Student Metrocards that would have left many students unable to get to school.
- Created “Respect For All”, one of the strongest anti-bullying programs in the nation.
- Launched “Bridge to Tomorrow” and “You Can Too,” programs that connect New Yorkers with a GED -- or in need of a GED -- with prep courses, mentorship and support.
- Passed the Student Safety Act, requiring the Department of Education and NYPD to report on student suspensions, arrests, and other disciplinary actions.
- Passed the Schools FACT Act, requiring the DOE to provide more accurate and detailed information on school capacity and facilities.
- Required the DOE to better track students in closing schools, to ensure they are not being lost in the process.
- Dramatically improved transparency of the DOE capital plan and increased opportunities for City Council and Community Education Council involvement in the capital planning process.
- Partnered with the New York Immigration Coalition on a program that provides photo ID’s to allow immigrant parents access to their childrens’ schools.
- Negotiated a Chancellor's Regulation to provide language access services for New York City parents.
- Funded an Education Hotline to help parents navigate school applications and other education questions.
- Made kindergarten mandatory, which will draw up to 6,000 more students into critical early childhood education programming.
- Saved 650 paraprofessionals (school aides, parent coordinators and health workers) from layoffs in the 2012-2013 budget.
- Worked with the UFT, education advocates and business leaders, to provide funding to 5 schools across the city to develop community schools.
- Funded Zone 126, a collaboration of stakeholders in Astoria, Queens serving 2,900 children using a detailed, evidence-based, data-driven collective impact plan for Cradle to Career education.
As Mayor, Chris plans to:
Identify our most effective schools and take their best practices system wide. In the last ten years we’ve collected tons of data on our students, and used it to make the system more accountable. What we haven’t done as well is look closely at our best schools, and principals, and teachers, and figure out what they’re doing right so we can put those same techniques into place at similar schools. Chris will conduct a System wide Success Study - an in depth analysis of what techniques from our best performing schools have proven most successful with different types of students - and apply their best techniques to schools with similar populations or similar challenges.
Create a red alert system to keep schools from closing. Instead of treating school closings like a goal in itself, we should see it as a last resort when all else has failed. Chris will create a red alert system for struggling schools, looking at early indicators like absentee and graduation rates, and identify them well before they’re slated to close. We’ll provide them the support they need to put ideas from our System wide Success Study into action. And most importantly, we’ll give them time to turn things around, not just wait a year and pull the plug.
Develop and support our newest educators by creating a Mentor Teacher program. Chris will create a Mentor Teacher program that will identify our top teachers and offer them the opportunity to leave the classroom temporarily, receive specialized training from CUNY, and serve as mentors for first and second year teachers. That way even if your child has a first-year teacher, they will benefit from the experience of one of our city’s best. After two years these mentor teachers will return to the classroom, so over time we’re building up a reserve of expert teachers at schools all over the city.
Empower parents to play a bigger role in our schools. Parent engagement has three distinct components: giving parents the tools to help their children succeed; being responsive to parents looking for help; and including parents in decisions about their child’s education. Chris will create an online Parent University where families can go to learn about everything from nutrition to study skills, and brush up on different class subjects. She will also launch an online tool to help simplify the complicated school choice system. Chris will ensure every Parent Coordinator and Family Advocate is fully trained, supported, and resourced, and introduce a tracking and accountability system for our Parent 311 hotline. Lastly, Chris will better engage Community Education Councils and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee to determine how new policies will impact families.
Improve student performance by extending the school day. Dozens of studies over the last decade show the same results: More learning time leads to greater academic achievement, better attendance, and more enthusiastic learners. As Mayor, Chris will keep more of our kids in a structured education program until 6pm, five-days-a-week. Chris will start by targeting schools that face bigger challenges: the 100 schools with the highest percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch.
Use community schools to meet all of a child’s needs. Just because you have a great teacher, that doesn’t mean we’ve removed all the barriers that can make it harder for you to learn. You need to be able to see a doctor when you’re sick. You need physical activity and healthy meals. You need tutoring and after school programs, internships and summer jobs. The community school model coordinates all these services to better meet the needs of the whole child. They’ve had great results in some targeted neighborhoods here in New York, and in other cities from San Francisco to Cincinnati. Now Chris will bring the community school approach system wide.
Create a Deputy Mayor for Education and Children. Over the course of a single day, a child might interact with programs run by half a dozen city agencies like the Department of Education, the Department of Youth and Community Development, the Human Resources Administration, or the Department of Health. Chris will create a new office of the Deputy Mayor for Education and Children to better coordinate the many services available to kids and their families, from after school programs to health clinics to food stamps.
Reduce the amount of time students spend taking and preparing for standardized tests. New York City is a place that understands the value of art and culture and of thinking in new, creative ways. We need a school system that makes time for science and technology, art and music, physical education, and creative thinking. And that’s simply not possible in a system where everything builds towards a series of standardized tests. Chris would expand the number of schools using alternative assessments like portfolios, where teachers evaluate a collection of student work that showcases the information they learned and progress they made throughout the year. Chris will also work with the State to eliminate field testing - questions or entire exams that don’t even count towards a student’s score, but exist solely to help testing companies try out new test questions.
Prepare students for the tech jobs of the future. Between 2005 and 2010, jobs in New York City’s tech sector grew by 30%, and computer skills are now key components of jobs in industries from advertising to manufacturing. Chris will make computer science classes available to students at every high school in New York City. And Chris will also push the federal government to include computer science in the new Common Core Standards.
Allow teachers to tailor lessons to their individual classes using online textbooks. Thanks to the Internet, teachers can share lessons and materials with colleagues around the world, and organize those lessons into online textbooks. Chris will use the more than 100 million dollars we spend each year on traditional textbooks to buy tablets for every student in New York City public schools, and cover staff costs to make sure these online texts are meeting rigorous standards.
Get every student reading on grade level. Reading and writing are the foundation of every aspect of learning. But right now less than 50% of our third graders are reading on grade level. Chris will create the most intensive literacy support program in the country, with a three-pronged strategy. 1) Build a strong foundation through an integrated pre-K to 3rd grade approach. 2) Incorporate literacy skills into every class in every subject area. And 3) Provide high quality interventions and remedial instruction for students who are falling behind.