PUBLIC/PRIVATE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS: We live in New York City and have access to the most extensive breadth of industries. Our city has professions ranging from our world-class educational institutions, research, development, fashion, finance, technology, media, advertising, real estate, culinary arts, and performance arts.
The list goes on and on.
Yet, we fail to utilize access to these industries to provide our students with career pathways. It is a failure of imagination and leadership on our part, and it stops now.
I propose creating new afterschool programs beginning in elementary school and going through high school that focuses on developing real-world skills for our city's students. Hence, they have a pathway to a fruitful and long-last career.
These new programs will be designed using the professional expertise of the various industries our city has to offer and be taught by professionals within the respective industries.
The benefits would be twofold:
Our students, especially in some of our lower-socioeconomic areas, will be exposed to professions that they never thought possible and be prepared by developing relationships and mentors that will guide them to achieve their dream of working in any of the occupations that they seek.
Employers will have access to a homegrown talent pool and ensure that they do not experience a shortage of talent for future job openings that they will seek to fulfill.
MODIFYING ENTRANCE TO SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS: Our city's schools are segregated by race. Let us speak boldly and frankly about that. One area that has consistently displayed racial disparities and access to our best performing schools is our specialized high schools.
These excellent schools perpetuate segregation by demanding that our middle-school students pass an entrance exam requiring access to capital to study. Students who have resources or access to tutors have often passed these exams that have created a cottage industry, restricting access to these schools for primarily Black & Brown students.
This will stop under my service.
My proposal rectifies this problem by taking proactive steps to modify the entrance to these schools. Among these steps, I will expand Gifted & Talented programs to every school in New York City. Moreover, my plan will modify the entrance requirements and allow automatic acceptance of our specialized high schools for students rated in the top 5% of every middle school in our city. My plan also does not eliminate the entrance exam but modifies it.
After entrance for students who perform in the top 5% throughout the school year, those who range from the top 6% - 25% will have an opportunity to attend one of the specialized high schools by passing the entrance exam that currently exists. I will also provide an additional option for those students to attend a specialized high school by adding a performance-based assessment, which offers a more accurate measure of a students' knowledge than a typical standardized exam.
TEN-YEAR EVALUATION & DISSEMINATION GRANTS: It is long past time for us to fix our failing schools that has left generations of our city's children relegated to poverty without a chance to achieve upward social mobility. That begins with improving all of our lowest-performing schools.
My plan calls for creating ten-year dissemination grants where a high-performing school partners with a low-performing school and evaluates the school environment and professional development processes of their educators. The high-performing school will train their school leaders and teachers with best practices while executing a performance plan to educate our city's children better.
We can no longer accept having schools that underperform in any capacity. Our children have too much talent, and we can not let them fail.
CREATE A CITYWIDE PREDICTIVE AI CHATBOX: We all recognize that personalized education and support can lead to higher outcomes and success in the classroom. What NYC can do is create a chatbox that uses predictive artificial intelligence (AI) to support our students and parents. The AI Chatbox will be accessible as a website and phone-based application that can be easily accessed 24 hours a day. The tool will support delivering much-needed information that some students and parents feel unsure of where to look for. This tool would expand on what Georgia State University (GSU) designed to help students of color succeed in the classroom and increase graduation rates that match their white peers.
GSU's chatbox found the following:
About 80% of students are talking to the chatbot regularly, with students sending 70-80 queries on average.
First-generation college students disproportionately benefit from the chatbot because they are often more reluctant to ask questions in person, and many work on top of taking classes.
An algorithm identifies a "predicted risk level" for each student, based on factors like their major, class schedule, grades, and faculty feedback.
If a student is at risk of falling behind or dropping out, advisors can reach out with personalized emails, text messages, or in-person meetings.
"The easiest way to have an impact is with B to C students who fly under the radar," said Allison Calhoun-Brown, who oversees GSU's advisor center. "We can strategically target them at the first sign they are going off track."
MUNICIPAL BROADBAND: Create municipal broadband that supports our lowest-income families across the city to ensure internet connectivity.
PERMANENT HOUSING FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES WITH SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN: I will create a program that supports our homeless families with school-age children by finding permanent housing until the student graduates high-school. We cannot allow our city's children to be home insecure and not have a stable learning environment. We will prioritize housing these families in high-opportunity areas to ensure access to some of our best schools.