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The incoming chancellor of the New York City public schools appointed by Mayor-elect Eric Adams has acknowledged that he intends to make big changes in an overly bureaucratic and unaccountable system that he maintains has “betrayed” students.
Adams is a progressive Democrat on most issues, but he has vowed to restore law and order in the crime-ridden city, including bringing back the plainclothes NYPD unit.
His appointment of new Chancellor David Banks, the official who will manage the department of education there and has vowed to transform the agency, appears to be a signal that Adams has far different priorities than the failed-on-many levels de Blasio administration.
It remains to be seen how this will play out in practice, however.
In a speech before Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem (which apparently was receptive to his message,) Banks reportedly said “I believe fundamentally that the way we are educating our children is wrong. We have not given them a reason for even going to school in the first place. We want to make sure their education is dedicated to their economic upward mobility. I am not here to play around on the margins,” according to the New York Post.
(Video: CBS News New York)
Earlier this month, Banks asserted that “Any agency that has a $38 billion annual budget …and yet we have 65 percent of black and brown children who never achieve proficiency. That should be outrageous, it’s a betrayal.
“They do a lot of schooling but not a lot of educating.”
“You can get those results,” he lamented, “if you never had a department of education.”
BLM leader warns NYC mayor-elect to expect ‘riots, fire, bloodshed’ if he cracks down on crime https://t.co/LhDgcsmuCy
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) November 11, 2021
Banks, 59, who is president and CEO of Eagle Academy, a network of all-boys charter schools that has a stellar reputation in terms of graduation rates and post-graduate student success, wants to, among other initiatives, increase the school day and the school year (which is sure to be met with teachers’ union opposition), reduce class sizes if funding makes that possible, and seems to favor expanding gifted and talent programs that de Blasio intended to eliminate.
Banks, who has personal experience working as a school safety officer, also apparently disagrees with the BLM demand to remove NYPD cops from schools and put security under the education department.
The back-to-basics educator wants to replace the “fundamentally wrong” teaching method called “balanced literacy” with the more traditional phonetics approach. “We’re going to ensure that our kids can read by the third grade. That’s been a huge part of the dysfunction,” he told CBS New York.
There are approximately one million students in New York City public schools, which is the largest such system in the country.
“Bottom line: Banks is intent on bringing sanity as well as accountability to the school system. Increase opportunity by expanding it, not by dropping standards to allow for race-obsessed social engineering. Empower the people who care most about kids. Focus on what works, not what’s trendy among academics or favored by agenda-driven politicians,” the Post’s editorial board opined.
In announcing Banks’ appointment outside a school in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn that Banks attended, Adams implied that no DOE official actually engaged in teaching or other student-focused service needs to worry about their employment status.
“If you’re there because you enjoy going to conferences, if you’re there because you’re using taxpayers’ dollars to extend your educational criteria to pad your resume, if you’re there for anything other than educating our children, then you should be concerned,” he added.
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