Early age literacy, Common Core implementation and college admissions support for disadvantaged students were among the top priorities listed in a new report that previews the education challenges that Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will soon confront when he takes over on January 1.
The 57-page paper also offers a retrospective on New York City schools over the past dozen years, praising Mayor Bloomberg and gains made on graduation rates, anti-truancy, school choice and data-driven systems under his leadership.
“Perhaps the mayor’s greatest education legacy is the belief that good public schools for all are possible,” the researchers, from the Center for New York City Affairs at The New School, write in an introduction. “Yet the challenges, including resource challenges, remain huge.”
Philanthropy New York, a group of about 285 philanthropies, commissioned the report. It was the third and final report they have released during the mayoral transition phase, which has included dozens of panels, events and forums convened to discuss the change of guard at City Hall.
Today’s release was no different, which included a speech from New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and a panel discussion. Tisch said one of the next administration’s first priorities should be to establish a “fruitful” relationship with the teachers union that will allow an early settlement of their contract with the city.
Panelist and parent leader Ocynthia Williams said she thought one priority was left out of the report was a shift to “restorative justice” in schools over more punitive discipline measures and expanded efforts to engage parents.
Speaking of the Common Core standards, Chief Academic Officer Shael Polakow-Suransky said the department’s focus has been on what it will take to “shift 75,000 teachers’ instructional practice.”
“Anyone who thinks that’s a two-year project or a three-year project is misguided,” he said.