Mayoral Race: Donovan Rolls Out Education Platform

Mayoral Candidate Shaun Donovan. Photo from campaign website

Former Obama-Biden Administration Housing Secretary and mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan yesterday his public school education platform which includes getting all police out of schools, utilizing more public/private partnerships, and doubling the size of the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program over five years.

Donovan said the nearly 10,000-word in-depth education platform, entitled A Million Strong: Repairing, Rebuilding, and Reimagining New York City Public Schools for ALL our Kids cultivates and celebrates diversity and incorporates an equity lens to ensure that the benefits of new initiatives make their way to all students, particularly students who are from low-income households, students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.

“COVID-19 exposed deep-rooted injustices in our public school system and it also demonstrated the incredible resilience of our dedicated educators, students and families who continue to persevere during these tough unprecedented times, which is why as we recover from this pandemic, we must rebuild our educational system in order to tackle long-standing inequities and to create real pathways to economic opportunity for every student,” said Donovan. “This plan builds a seamless cradle to career continuum, celebrates diversity, creates safe and inclusive learning environments and prepares the next generation of New Yorkers for family-sustaining jobs.”

The policy ideas outlined in the nearly 10,000-word platform lay-out a vision for schools that cultivates and celebrates diversity and incorporates an equity lens to ensure that the benefits of new initiatives make their way to all students, particularly students who are from low-income households, students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.

Highlights of the platform include:

  • Creating an Education Recovery Corps utilizing CUNY students and graduates, and other young people, to partner with educators to provide supplemental learning and social-emotional support for younger students, while offering immediate employment in their own communities for CUNY students and graduates.
  • Investing in a Student Success program that pairs public dollars with those raised from philanthropists and private sector partners with a shared interest in helping NYC’s students. This initiative would provide grants to schools with a focus on students who have been left furthest behind: students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, multilingual students, and students of color.
  • Hiring 150 new social workers to work in schools with large numbers of students in temporary housing and develop a multi-tiered support system in schools for foster, homeless and system-involved youth.
  • Opening all libraries, in all neighborhoods, seven days a week.
  • Establishing a School Diversity and Integration Office within the Department of Education to focus on both vision and execution of pro-integration policies and practices.
  • Removing police from schools, and leveraging some of the savings to reinvest in Positivity, Prevention, Relationships, and Response Coordinators, trained in child development, de-escalation, and understanding how trauma and life experiences impact behavior, to create a positive learning environment.
  • Doubling the size of the Summer Youth Employment Program over the next five years from 75,000 to 150,000 participants per year.

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