My worries about the state of public school education in New York city.
The pandemic has touched everything we used to know, and turned it inside out. Problem is many are not ready to wake up to this fact until we start opening back up again.
There are many things to pick up on, but for the sake of this write up, i’ll pick on two most resilient structures that in my opinion could be very very slow to adapt to a change, simply because these two structures are well known to have developed a very advanced and well balanced business model that has served it for more than two hundred years.
They are the education and healthcare sectors in the city of New York. The core of their business model is simply “service.” One provides a need to teach and educate people, whilst the other tends to our need for care. But due to the pandemic, these two structures have not only revealed the level of inequality in our education system, it has also shown that this inequality, if not addressed for what it is, could easily lead to bigotry, hatred, loathing and being emotionally blind to the other in our society more than anything else.
Physical space was moved online, so teachers could teach remotely, and students could study from the comfort of their homes. But access to much digital equipments turned out to be a big problem. And when that was addressed, distractions, old habits and bad parenting kicked in, and New York city teachers, as moral reporters couldn’t do a thing.
Now the pandemic is almost over, we are opening back up again, so we have a situation where like hospitals, schools and universities don’t have to worry about what to do with overheads through fixed assets (buildings, halls, accommodation and playgrounds) or the high operating cost of services and admin support they have always have with them for the past few centuries any more, but how best to evaluate child/student development and address the effect of inequality as they go about it.
With this in mind, I believe with a teacher’s aid and timely intervention, a child’s level of development could be swayed, enlivened, made prosper and given the chance of a better live, than a child’s development being left to be determined by income, community, surrounding influences and bad parenting.
I therefore propose a review of the city’s education system, revamp the manner of teaching, boost the number of teachers, bring civic studies back into New York city schools and put more money into pre-K education and public schools.
Charter schools will live and survive, but pandemic has shown us that pandering to achievements by tests alone removes the social touch, social adaptability and the emotional intelligence required to act on the spot — if the situation at hand doesn’t fit one that has been learned, read about and mamorized in a book.
I’d create a system that will encourage our public school teachers to broaden achievement to embrace hidden skills and hidden talents in slow to bloom students. Stoop low to lift the bottom up is key to the city’s survival if we are to continue as a service driven economy.
Reality of the effect of pandemic now is kids in other boroughs outside Manhattan are academically speaking, about six months behind those in Manhattan. Meaning 20 kids out of 100 (black, brown or white) in Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island will be luck to go to graduate school in the next couple of years, if this is not looked into right now. As for finishing high school, the rate in the Black and Latino community, in my estimate, has just dropped to 4.
The rising rate of attacks on Asians in New York city is an example of what could happen if old thinking, bigotry, deranged reasoning and lack of tolerance for the other are being fed into the young minds at home by parents’ and by family members’ if there are no public schools and if they are the only one involved in a child’s life.
Public schools are there to prepare our kids for life after school. If as children, they all learn together, play together and eat the same school meals together, then, certainly “we the people” could effectively live together.
As Mayor, i’ll use the pandemic and it’s effect on education to rewrite New York city’s school curriculum and method of induction. Pump more money into the public school system and reward teacher’s more than now.
Digital access or the lack of it should not be allowed to divide us more than it is as at now.
Once this is taken care off then the next set of things to address in the city’s education and school system will be how to use the shift from a teaching culture that is struggling with over-crowded classrooms, to a culture that has adopted learning by virtual means as a way to source out post COVID issues of child abuse, assault, online bullying, drunkenness, and the effect of dysfunctional families on homeless students.
New guides and new standards is what is needed for our school system. Pandemic is providing us with an opportunity to rebuild, refocus and repurpose, let’s not scuttle it.
If elected Mayor, I promise one thing: Post pandemic education in New York city will be different. So will be Teachers. So will be classrooms. So will be lessons to be taught. And so will be the city’s public school system.