Public Advocate outlines ways to reimagine New York’s public school system in new report

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ office released ambitious news report analyze how the city can work to reinvent and improve New York’s public school system.

The report released on March 18 highlights the problems faced by many schools even before COVID-19, but which were exacerbated after the pandemic, but Williams believes they can be solved, including by funding schools equitably, by transitioning them to healing-centered schools, implementing culturally appropriate education, desegregating all New York City public schools, and creating an office for homestay students .

“We want to create healthier school environments for students,” Williams said in an interview with amNew York on March 17. “We want the school buildings themselves to transition with [a] healing-centered model. And if we do that, I think the students get what they need, they feel safer, the families feel good, and that means the whole community feels better too.

With a new mayor and education chancellor in office, Williams and his office remain optimistic about the potential for jurisdictions to work together to achieve these goals.

Chancellor David C. Banks recently announced his own plans to improve and advance New York’s public schools as well, following a four-pillar plan to achieve his own goals. Many of them align with Public Advocate Williams’ report and plans.

“I was happy to hear some of the things the Chancellor said, so I’m glad there’s a lineup there,” Williams said. “There are areas where there are concerns – there still are – but I think people who have been concerned about inequity in the school system, who have been concerned about how much money is going here from the feedback we’re getting how many black and brown students who aren’t ready to move forward after graduating can see there’s a huge problem so if there’s alignment, that’s good, but I think more importantly, we want to make sure that we move forward.

Williams also went into detail about how critical it is for her office and other elected officials to ensure that New York’s public schools improve following the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the things we’re doing is trying to help the city move forward fairly for all New Yorkers,” Williams said. “Education played an important role in that, so we released this report to help New Yorkers invest in education and invest in equity at this very important time as we emerge from this pandemic, so that we come back with a fairness that has been gone for a very long time. We have an opportunity that we won’t have for a while to really come out, to not go back to the “normal” that we had, but to a better “normal”.

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