Open letter to Mayor de Blasio for a progressive public education future for New York City children

1/2/2014, 2:18 p.m.

• Immediately mandate music, art and physical education programs within every school, K-12, using surplus funds.

• Immediately ensure that all charter school teachers have the same educational licenses and accountability requirements as traditional teachers and have the ability to be union members in exactly the same way as their non-charter colleagues.

• Ensure that student, teacher and administrator discipline policies and procedures in all public and charter schools are unbiased and humane at both the school and central levels.

• Immediately de-deputize school safety from the New York Police Department and re-establish a citywide teacher-parent-child greeter program for every school.

• De-privatize numerous services that were once done by local unionized municipal workers, like building maintenance, food services and computer technology.

• Immediately end no-bid contracts and outrageously high bidding thresholds that have pushed Black and Latino vendors completely out of the bidding process.

Indeed, a truly progressive mayor like yourself should see the year 2014 as the beginning of New York City’s education reconstruction, and that come June 2015, a democratic school structure will be born from the recognition that mayoral control has underserved us with an undemocratic, deeply racist and corporatized structure. It has dehumanized our children as “products,” provided parents with false “choices” as well as divisive competition and, finally, reduced our teachers to mere proctors for their testing industry.

Consequently, a truly progressive mayor would immediately establish an “Education Reconstruction Team” comprised of education activist parents, students, educators and community citizens along with local neighborhood business people to assist you in holding a series of 2014 town hall “Education Vision” meetings. Here we will hear from our neighbors about what a new, human rights-based school system might look like. This way, we all can finally move beyond venting sessions about what is wrong, to envisioning and actualizing positive attributes of a school system that will help all our children have a truly good time learning.


The Independent Commission on Public Education