New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor David Banks, and union leaders and members today urged the New York State Legislature to extend mayoral accountability for New York City schools and its nearly 1 million students. Representatives of District Council 37 (DC37), Hotel Trades Council (HTC), 32BJ SEIU, Local 372, and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) joined the mayor and chancellor in support.
Mayor Adams highlighted the numerous successes of mayoral responsibility, including the launch of Pre-K for All, a more than 20 percent increase in graduation rates, ensuring every school receives 100 percent Fair Student Funding, and coordinating the massive inter-agency COVID-19 response.
If the state does not take action by June 30th, control of city schools would revert to the decentralized system of 32 school boards that existed prior to 2002 — a system that proved vulnerable to politics, corruption, and bureaucracy.
“Continuing mayoral accountability will benefit every one of the nearly 1 million New York City students and will allow us to make transformative changes in the education system to address systemic inequities that plagued public schools for years,” said Mayor Adams. “Mayoral accountability will also provide parents with certainty as we prepare for the summer and the following school year. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues in Albany to ensure our schools continue moving in the right direction.”
“Mayoral accountability made it possible to put mental health services in every school, open the largest summer enrichment program ever, and find innovative ways to respond to the needs of our families and students,” DOE Chancellor David Banks. “Whether it is responding to a crisis or providing the supports for our children’s bold futures, it is clear that our students, schools, and communities deserve to have the stability that a quick renewal provides, and I look forward to continuing to work with the legislature on how to best serve future generations of New Yorkers.”
Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have outlined a bold agenda for New York City Schools that includes expanded opportunities for summer learning; a renewed focus on literacy, screenings, and early interventions for dyslexia; and providing every student with a pathway to a good-paying career.
Mayoral accountability is essential to driving these and other new initiatives that will help address the impacts of the pandemic on learning and puts all students on the path to success.
“Mayoral control has proven to be an accountability tool for our schools that we cannot ignore,” said DC37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “It is important that we have in place an educational system that seeks to create standards, push back against inequities from one school district to the next, and provide a strong foundation for our 1.1 million students. We support the extension of mayoral control and recognize the valuable impact it has had on the Department of Education’s operations.”
“New York City’s 1.1 million school children should be above politics and our schools system should embrace clear accountability,” said 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg. “There is absolutely no doubt that extending mayoral control is to everyone’s benefit – students, teachers, and parents alike. Going back in time to a pre-mayoral control system would be a disaster. Our kids would lose out and our schools would be thrown into chaos.”
“With thousands of our members who have children in the city’s public schools, ensuring that they have an effective and accountable leadership structure is a major priority,” said HTC President Rich Maroko. “We’ve seen how educational outcomes and opportunities have improved during the past 20 years of mayoral accountability and now is not the time to take a step backward. We urge the legislature to continue the path to success for more than 1 million children and extend this essential policy.
“Our members depend on public schools to provide opportunities for their children. These families deserve the accountability and streamline decision-making that only continued mayoral control can provide,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “As mayoral control’s expiration date draws near, no viable alternative has been put forward. That is unacceptable – our city’s children must not be left in the lurch or subjected to stifling bureaucracy and unaccountable boards. The RWDSU supports the continuation of mayoral control for our city’s public schools.”
“Extending mayoral accountability is a critical priority for New York City families and for the food service employees that we represent,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois. “Having accountability starts with oneself, and in order to lead, you yourself have had to be in the trenches to actually feel and understand what a person is experiencing. That is what Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have done, and under their leadership we will keep our schools and our city aggressively moving forward! Stay Ready!”