‘Invoke the village’: Longer NYC school days, Saturday classes possible via community groups, chancellor says

Local News

NEW YORK — New York City’s next schools chancellor has a new vision of what the school year could look like for students, including longer weekdays, weekend classes and summer learning. 

David Banks, Mayor-elect Eric Adams’ appointee to lead the nation’s largest school district, told the PIX11 Morning News on Monday he wants to radically change the way teachers, parents and students view the academic year. It’s one of several proposals on the table in an effort to improve a school system that Banks said is betraying students.

“Any agency that has a $38 billion annual budget … and yet we have 65% of Black and brown children who never achieve proficiency,” he said. “That should be outrageous, it’s a betrayal.”

When asked where he would find the staffing to accommodate students outside of the traditional class setting and school year, Banks said he’d have to “invoke the village.”

“When we talk about Saturdays or summer time or extended days, we’re not necessarily saying we’re looking to mandate that all New York City school teachers are going to have to do all this work,” he said. “It’s quite to the contrary. There are community based organizations all across the city who have been doing work like this for a long time.”

Banks said the key is to connect those organizations with the school system so that they’re “fully involved … particularly in the areas that need it the most.”

Last week, the incoming schools chancellor had suggested a larger role for teachers within his proposal.

“Teachers very often may say ‘I don’t want to work on Saturday, I don’t want to work all year long.’ But if we continue to do things the way we’ve been doing them? We’ll continue to get the same results,” he told NBC New York.

Banks has not said whether the proposed extended hours or summer programs would be mandatory for all students.

Mayor-elect Adams announced Banks as his choice for schools chancellor on Thursday.

The current schools chancellor, Meisha Ross Porter, has said she would step down from the job at the end of the year.

Banks, the founder of Eagle Academy for Young Men, is from Brooklyn and previously served as a principal within the public school system.

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