Education

SHOW ME THE MONEY!!

A Good Education Is Essential To Ending Poverty

The Current State of our Education Creates Systemic Poverty.

My mission is to build more world-class schools where children of all zip codes and socioeconomic groups have the opportunity to compete and succeed. Every child deserves access to a life-changing education. It’s time to create an education system with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), critical thinking, entrepreneurship and the trades.

I have witnessed how not living in the “right” zip codes limit our children’s access to good education. How the lack of access to good education limits our children’s ability to access good colleges and universities. How the lack of access to good colleges and universities limits our children’s ability to secure good jobs. This lack of access leads to a life of poverty, and in the worst-case scenario, a life of crime.

New York City schools are failing too many of our children. Too few Black and Hispanic fourth graders are proficient in math and reading, and those numbers worsen by eighth grade. This is absolutely unacceptable. Parents and our children deserve better.

Why is the average New York child behind in education?

Where is the accountability?

We have perfect models of what institutions that produce the best outcomes for educating our children look like, and yet, we are not replicating these models. The prime examples of great schools are private schools and charter schools; they’ve shown us that not all schools are broken. But few of us are lucky enough to hit the charter-school lottery. And fewer, still, have the ability to afford a private-school education for our children.

Funding should only go to schools that have proven results and are able to give our children the level of education that is needed to compete with their privately educated counterparts.

More than 155,000 children in minority communities from third grade to eighth grade cannot properly read or do math. Failure at this magnitude has devastating consequences for these children and the ability for their communities to become prosperous. The records show that children across all backgrounds can achieve a high level of success under the right set of circumstances. My primary goal is to duplicate the private- and charter-school models for all.

SOLUTIONS

Step 1- “Scaling excellence.” Every school has to operate on the basis of KPIs (key performance indicators) to produce measurable outcomes. All schools must produce a monthly report of students’ progress—their proficiency in reading, mathematics, etc. Schools need to demonstrate that they have the ability to test at the level of their private-school and charter-school counterparts. Testing is a critical indicator that a school is failing our children.

Removing testing from the program will lead to failing schools just getting by, with little-to-no oversite or accountability, all at the expense of our children. Schools that cannot compete with their private- and charter-school counterparts have to shut down because they are instrumental in robbing our children of a future. We cannot afford this; the damage is too great.

“Scaling excellence” means that we have to provide our children with a premium education. What I propose is a quarterly review that involves teacher, student and parent engagement to keep track of a child’s educational progress and ensure that learning does not stop once a child leaves the classroom.

Step 2- Preschool programs for all. Our middle and lower-income communities consist of struggling parents and single moms working two and sometimes three jobs. They need our support. The human subconscious is developed between birth and six years of age. It is critical that we capture our children’s imagination and create a desire for learning during these impressionable years. This means creating day centers that incorporate robust preschool programs that will give children from middle- and lower-income communities the edge they need to compete with the upper class who can afford prestigious preschool programs.

Step 3- Abolish rote learning. The process of using memorization as an indicator for intelligence is not adequate for learning. This method does not allow children to create connections in their brains that promote cognition, which is critical for developing intelligence. Cognitivism as a form of learning is ideal for helping children understand, retain and recall information. This is the best way forward.

Step 4- Back To Basics. Robust after-school tutoring programs and social clubs. These programs and clubs will help children in middle- and lower-income communities excel beyond the classroom. Struggling parents of middle- and lower-income communities who cannot afford a tutor for their children are left behind.

We can do better. Every child needs access to tutors. This can be done by bringing onboard older and gifted students as volunteers to aid others who are falling behind. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to learning. “Each one, teach one.”

Step 5- One Size Fits All Will Not Do. Focused program in every public school. My objective is to “scale excellence” in students and teachers. To focus on STEM, critical thinking, entrepreneurship and the trades. I firmly believe that we need to create a future generation of problem solvers. We need curated in-class and after- school programs that engage children in a way that promotes enthusiasm for learning.

We need to think outside of the box. This also means moving away from the one-size-fits-all model, since every child has their own individual gifts and struggles. A focus on entrepreneurship and trade must begin in sophomore year, at the very latest.

Not every child wants to get a college education, not every child should have to. Our job is to pave their desired paths. To do this, we need teachers who are actually enthusiastic about teaching and see their profession as a calling, not just a means to collect a paycheck.

Step 6- Expanding Education Outreach Programs. More libraries, learning centers and museums in every middle- and lower-income community. I was quite shocked to find that so many children have never been to a library, or a museum. And the correlation with lack of access to these places and educational failure is alarming. You cannot desire what you don’t see. There are Starbucks and McDonalds on every other corner. We should now have libraries and cultural centers on as many corners as possible.

Step 7- Show Me The Money. We need financial accountability for every red cent spent in the school system. New York City spends about $25,000 per student, per year. Where is the money? Show me the Money!! Voucher programs allow for accountability of every pencil, every notebook, every book and so on.

There has to be a thorough paper trail for the monies spent on each child in the public education system. We spend more money to educate our children than any other western nation in the world, and yet we score lower than most western nations, something that does not pass the smell test.

Under my administration, the “Scaling Excellence Program” will focus on only hiring principals, superintendents and teachers who have a passion for teaching and the development of our children’s intelligence and will be primarily focused on our children’s emotional well-being.

This means going beyond the Monday-to-Friday school hours. This means not being afraid to make house calls and understanding when one is in need of help from a Principal when engaging students with unique circumstances.

Our children’s education matters.

It’s time for us to make some noise and demand accountability!!!