Maya Wiley’s Plan for Creating a Just, Vibrant School System

The pandemic has impacted all New Yorkers, but the burden placed on our city’s teachers, school administrators, parents and—most of all—our students has been impossibly large. After over a year and a half of remote learning, hybrid teaching, social distancing, school closures, confusion, policy changes and myriad other frustration and false-starts it’s time to reinvest and reimagine our public schools and focus on the essential work of providing quality education to every single NYC student.

Maya Wiley will not allow us to lose a generation of students to the uncertainty and trauma of the past eighteen months. Her plan to create a just, vibrant school system will reinvigorate public education throughout New York City and ensure that every child—regardless of zip code—can go to a school that is safe, supportive, well-funded and ready to meet their needs.

To accomplish this, a Wiley administration will:

  • Elevate parent and student voices with an active role in decision making.
  • Heal and help students thrive despite the trauma of the pandemic.
  • Transform our schools into centers of creativity, inclusion and exploration.
  • Remove barriers that separate students and label them from an early age.
  • Prioritize the rights and safety of students.

To elevate parent and student voices, we will:

  • Provide parents and students more effective avenues of input and decision-making and create real accountability.
  • Create a Commission on School Governance with parent, student, community & advocacy representatives to establish stronger checks and balances and more methods for institutionalized parent, student and community input and decision-making.
  • Advocate to amend the state law to give students voting power on existing and new committees and governance bodies, including CCECs and the PEP.
  • Give NYC public school students press passes for the Mayor’s briefings.
  • Give parents and students a greater role in school governance by granting more power to School Leadership Teams (SLT).

To heal and help students thrive, we will:

  • Allocate a minimum of $250 million dollars to hire 2500 new teachers to shrink class sizes and help our students meet the academic and social emotional challenges of the past year.
  • Re-allocate the $450 million NYPD budget for school policing to support the mental health and social-emotional needs of NYC’s students by funding student support teams and expanded mental health services through community schools.
  • Fully invest in the NYC Department of Education’s definition of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education with an expansion of the Office of Equity and Access.
  • Provide universal broadband access and increase access to technology for all students.
  • Invest $10 million to hire a full-time nurse in every single public school.

To transform our schools, we will:

  • Expend $12 million to create Innovation Resource Hubs to give teachers and administrators the tools to differentiate instruction and weave students into the texture of our city to take learning beyond the classroom.
  • Provide a minimum of $20 million to supplement classroom learning with work experience by creating a year-round, universal Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
  • Create new models of delivering accelerated learning that support all students in finding their gifts and talents, while also advancing fairness and school integration.
  • Redistribute money spent on testing and test grading to fully fund arts programming and revitalize art education.

To remove barriers that separate and label children, we will:

  • Appoint a Chief Integration and Equity Officer to oversee a collaborative integration process, ensuring tight, achievable timeframes, and coordinating between agencies to reduce mutually reinforcing patterns of residential and school segregation.
  • Create racially integrated schools through community collaboration and innovation.
  • Eliminate discriminatory admissions “screens.”
  • Make admissions as simple to navigate as possible, by ensuring that the DOE simplifies the processes  so that all schools at each level of schooling will have the same application process.

To prioritize the rights and safety of students, we will:

  • Reform school safety efforts to make a holistic commitment to supporting the well-being of students rather than using punitive and reactive measures.
  • Ensure every child attends a school with a full-time social worker and is well known and supported by at least one adult in the building.
  • Remove the school safety role from the NYPD and retrain safety agents in restorative justice practices, to eliminate discriminatory disciplinary practices and support students’ social-emotional and behavioral needs.
  • Improve services for students who are housing insecure and in foster care by creating a DOE office to address the unique needs of these students.
  • Ensure that students with disabilities are provided their legally mandated rights, by focusing on early diagnosis and remediation of learning disabilities.
  • Implement and fully fund the New York Immigration Coalition’s Education Collaborative’s Communications Plan, ensuring accessibility and support for all multilingual students.