Schools: Return True Education

Most New York City schools fail in teaching fundamental skills: only 31% of young Hispanic students and 26% of black children tested proficient in math. English proficiency scores were dismal: Blacks students 48%, Hispanics 47%. Over $39 billion was spent on NYC education in 2023-24 - nearly $38,000/student. The average for students nationwide is $15,600. We have shameful results despite paying well over double the national average. This is the legacy of your ineffective incumbent congressman. Once elected I will do everything within my power to rebuild our school system and end generations of failed (and costly!) education.

  1. Special Schools Entrance Exams. Many politicians want to lower entrance standards or eliminate exams. This is reckless. It will lower academic quality. This is the wrong path. It merely locks out the most highly qualified students.
  2. Double the Special Schools. The real solution is to double the number of special schools. Twice as many special schools. Not lower entrance standards.
  3. CRT in SchoolsCritical race theory (CRT) and cancel culture interfere with academic standards. Obviously we want to end prejudice and teach youth to respect people of all skin colors and ethnic background. But biased teachers broadcasting extremist or personal agendas is not the right path. Books should not have an agenda outside of its intended topic. Teachers should not use classrooms as a forum to project personal opinions. if you teach English, focus and grammar and quality wrting. If you teach math, only teach math. 
  4. Cap Salary.  Cut and cap administrator pay, now averaging $179,000 in much of the state.  This will put more money in classrooms, where needed most. 
  5. Fire Incompetence.  Dismiss teachers who have been expelled from the classroom yet still get paid full salary. Eliminate wasted resources spent on bad teachers.  The teacher’s union must protect students, not incompetent teachers. Union contracts must be renegotiated with the understanding that each dismissed teacher will be replaced with competent ones.  No jobs will be lost… only incompetent teachers. The sooner the better.
  6. Vocational Schools.  Create a citywide vocational school system that increases equity among students who wish to pursue a trade verses a college education.
  7. Teacher Requirements.  Raise requirements to become a teacher.  We must require teachers to take at least 60 undergraduate credits in their subject areas. Studies have proven that teachers with in-depth knowledge of their subjects produce better students.  Furthermore, every prospective teacher must have an overall 3.0-plus GPA.  C-minus teachers yield C-mi students.
  8. Safety.  Take steps to ensure that schools are safer for students and teachers, as school crime rates have risen 21% in recent years.
  9. Drugs.  A zero-tolerance approach must be implemented.  Those caught using drugs in or out of school must be sent to rehabilitation specialists.  Those selling drugs, no matter what age, must be removed from any school and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
  10. Cellphones.  Distractions are epidemic in many classrooms.  There is little of importance justifying students using the Internet, Facebook, or texting during class time.  No teacher should have to quarrel with a student about paying attention and putting away a cellphone.  The solution is simple:  a citywide ban on use of cellphones during school hours.  Cellphones will be stored in a safe room during school hours and returned when student leave school.  Parents must not oppose the needs of good education.
  11. Civics Classes.  Create citywide civics classes focusing on important topics not covered:  finances, respecting police and acting appropriately, showing courtesy to others, basic understanding of government/Congress/Supreme Court, the need to vote, why democracy and participation are important, acceptance of different peoples and cultures, renouncing and reporting sexual assault and inappropriate behavior, responsible sexual practices, the need to follow news and read newspapers, respecting environment, conserving energy, recycling waste, etc.
  12. Restore The Fine Arts.  This important part of spiritual life has been gutted for generations.  Shame on an system that teaches almost nothing about great music, opera, dance, and Broadway in the cultural capital of the world.  We should fund at least two fine-arts teachers in every school.  Orchestras, bands, and live music/dance must be part of the young’s upbringing.
  13. Finance & Computer Education.  These must be an essential part of high-school curriculum:  use of basic computer programs (MSW, etc.), checking, banking, spotting scams, etc.
  14. Government.  Students should become part of local government and learn about it firsthand.  All students must be required to offer 20 hours of time during high school by volunteering to work in a government office, from councilman to statewide officials, so that they become more of a part of our democracy and see it working firsthand.
  15. Discipline & Attendance. This generational problem — kids behaving badly and disrespecting teachers with no repercussions — sends a terrible message opposite of what students should understand:  respecting adults, education and teachers.  Systematic change is needed:  a) students continuously disrespecting the class must not return and be placed in special classes or schools (newly created for this purpose) where psychology experts trained for troubled kids will address the problem;  b) those regularly missing classes will be removed and helped by trained experts; c) parents refusing to make their children attend will be brought to court or fined — whatever it takes to instill a duty to ensure that their children are in class and learning daily.
  16. After-School Programs.  We must expand such programs to provide kids with activities and tutors to help those struggling in class.  Libraries should be more accessible and provide tutors to assist those in need.
  17. Social Promotion.  This is the practice of promoting students to the next grade even if they fail to meet minimum requirements.  It must end!  Being left back may be hurtful, but being truthful is essential if kids are to be prepared for the real world.  Principals, administrators and teachers caught fudging or changing grades must be dismissed immediately and subject to criminal charges.  A completely new view of education is needed.
  18. Recreation.  Kids play sports on parking lots of concrete.  When kids face harsh conditions daily, it conditions them to ugliness and mediocrity.  Efforts should be made to improve recreational facilities.  Grass and trees are important to a child’s upbringing.  Green lands must not belong solely to the suburban privileged.
  19. Summer Programs.  City kids are rarely exposed to nature and the countryside. They should know what forests, farms, and animals are.  Summer exposure must be promoted as much as possible.  Learning to respect nature and the environment suggests actually being within it.
  20. Districts Autonomy.  Create regional districts allowing administrators greater flexibility to innovate.  The Board of Education, a huge bureaucracy, snarls innovation.  Change comes slowly.  Greater autonomy gives schools opportunity to address problems intelligently and quickly.  The needs of Harlem and Soho are different from those in Queens and Staten Island.  Let administrators innovate quickly with enhanced autonomy.