NEW YORK CITY — As Chancellor David Banks kicked off an address outlining his vision for the city’s schools, a telling problem developed: his teleprompter failed.
“This is our $38 billion bureaucracy,” Banks said Wednesday to laughter in the Department of Education’s Tweed Courthouse headquarters.
The problem proved fitting for a major theme of Banks’ at-times off-the-cuff speech — dysfunction.
Banks praised the smart, talent and committed school staff he has met since taking over the chancellor position in January. Then he posed a pointed caveat.
“And yet the results that we have as a school system is completely dysfunctional,” he said.
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“We spend $38 billion every single year to get the outcomes that we get,” he said later. “With 65% of Black and Brown children never [achieving] proficiency, it’s a betrayal.”
Banks proposed several significant changes to the public education system as part of “four pillars” underlying his vision for the city’s schools.
The first he labeled “reimagining the student experience” by making students more engaged and provide more opportunities to land a career after graduation.
“I’m talking about real jobs that put our young people on the path to economic prosperity,” he said.
Part of that pillar also will be setting up student governments in every building to increase civic education, Banks said.
“It’s not enough to tell kids and young people and you should vote,” he said. “They have to understand why voting matters and how it can transform their lives.”
Banks also vowed to eliminate the position of executive superintendents in schools and increase resources for bolstered regular superintendents.
His other pillars were: scale, sustain and restore “what works”; concentrate on student wellness through eating right, cultural and field trips and outdoor activities; and engage families and communities.