NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) — For the last two decades, New York City’s public schools have been under mayoral control, but that control is set to expire June 30.
A public hearing was held Friday to help the New York State Legislature decide the best way to run the nation’s largest school system.
State Sen. John Liu said mayoral control will likely stay, but with changes, rather than reverting back to a central board of education like 20 years ago.
“Parents feel that they have very little — if any – input. That’s one of the key issues here, whether parents have any way to weigh in with how their kids are being taught in New York City Public Schools,” said Liu.
Mayor Eric Adams also made his plea, asking for four years to use his experience to make changes to a school system with dismal literacy, attendance and graduation rates.
“Four years to do what I know needs to be done based on my time as a student, a law enforcement officer, a senator and borough president. This is no time to go back to a broken system,” said Adams.
Schools Chancellor David Banks was grilled on how he plans to improve parent engagement and promised to always be available, just a phone call away.
“Every one of you can have my personal cell. You can reach me. As you hear great ideas about things we should be doing, or you’re hearing about real concerns in your community, let us know,” Banks said.
Banks said mayoral accountability allows more resources to go directly to schools to meet the needs of students. He vaguely listed plans for a virtual academy to start in September with teachers and students solely online, expansion of the gifted and talented program, adding to the number of specialized high schools and focusing on student wellness.
“Every school now has the funding to hire a school social worker,” Banks said.
A number of public school parents testified that families are being left out of the decision-making process and mayoral control is not the answer.