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To: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew Cuomo, NY City Council Speaker Corey Johnson

Prioritize Schools -- New Yorkers Demand a Real Plan for our Students and our City

Prioritize Schools -- New Yorkers Demand a Real Plan for our Students and our City

We need hope. We need leadership. We need the Mayor, Governor, and City Council to PRIORITIZE SCHOOLS: We demand a plan—one that’s ambitious, that’s given the resources to meet this moment, and that channels the innovation, creativity, and tenacity of our city to open schools safely and effectively for the benefit of New York City and its people.

Why is this important?

It can't be easy to be in charge of New York City schools right now, facing a triple threat of crises: health, financial, and educational. However, our city as a whole can't function without our schools open—until that happens, parents, guardians, and caregivers can't get back to work; businesses across our city can't rely on their employees; and many children can't get the educational, social-emotional, and nutritional support they need.

We know there are increasing numbers of unknown variables—the resilience of the virus across seasons, the emerging science around how it spreads in school communities, its specific effects on children, and the efficacy of our city's testing and tracing programs (just to name a few). And of course, it's paramount to ensure the safety of our children, teachers, staff, and families before we open school. Yet, beyond filling out standardized surveys from the DOE and conflicting and vague announcements, the detailed discussion of whether, when, and how to open schools is invisible to most parents and families.

We need hope. We need leadership. We need the Mayor, Governor, and City Council to PRIORITIZE SCHOOLS: We demand a plan—one that’s ambitious, that’s given the resources to meet this moment, and that channels the innovation, creativity, and tenacity of our city to open schools safely and effectively for the benefit of New York City and its people.

1. THE PLAN MUST SHOW REAL LEADERSHIP AND TRANSPARENCY. Right now, families are kept guessing, and principals and school leaders are asked to make plans beyond their level of authority. The Mayor, Governor, and City Councilneed to offer real leadership to give direction to the Chancellor and work proactively with the UFT, parent leadership, and every government agency to move this plan into action.

2. THE PLAN MUST CENTER ON EQUITY BY RESPECTING THAT ALL FAMILIES ARE DIFFERENT. Some families can't send children due to health risks, some need to send children so they can go to their jobs or meet their family’s nutritional needs, many have IEPs, siblings, varying rigors with commuting, and differing relationships with or accessibility to technology. Every decision about how we school our kids needs to ask how we are offering agency and partnership to the families that are most vulnerable or have the highest potential to be marginalized. We need to make decisions that proactively counteract that marginalization. Any plan for the fall must ditch a one-size-fits-all approach to education.

3. THE PLAN MUST LEAN IN TO SMALL-GROUP LEARNING. For health reasons, we'll need lower student-teacher ratios. This is something every educator, parent, and caregiver has wanted for decades. To meet this need will require more space, more educators, and more flexibility and creativity with when and where instruction is occurring.

4. THE PLAN MUST VALUE EDUCATION MORE THAN TEST SCORES. In a crisis, there can be a default instinct to go to what's measurable, such as standardized testing. We need to resist that impulse and invest in the social-emotional wellbeing of a student population that is facing real fears and, for many, traumas. The arts, guidance counselors, and mental and physical health are all more, not less, essential.

5. THE PLAN MUST PROTECT OUR PRIVACY. Even as we push digital learning as a part of a blended model, our city must only enter into agreements with vendors which keep student data secure, refuse to allow companies to share or monetize data, and allow the right to be forgotten—so that students and families ultimately control how their data follows them.

6. THE PLAN FOR OUR CHILDREN MUST ALSO BE A PLAN FOR OUR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS. It needs to support adults being part-time teachers at home by giving them extended family leave from work, protections around work schedules that flex to accommodate uneven structures of in-person and remote schooling, subsidies for supplemental childcare and enrichment, or other policy measures that allow parents and guardians to support their families without losing their jobs, job security, or financial wellbeing. The plan needs to account for staff, hourly, and independent contractor jobs alike.

There are physical structures, unemployed labor, sources of innovation, and willing and able volunteers all across our city that can be harnessed into a massive and ambitious mobilization to reopen and recreate our schools—if there's the leadership to mobilize them. Our city must tap every public and private partner it can reach to unleash our creativity, ferocity, and determination to make the 2020-2021 school year one where our students and families can safely thrive.

If your Parents Association, School Leadership Team or organization would like to sign on, please contact petition starter Justin Krebs by clicking his name at the top of this petition.

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Reasons for signing

  • Democrats need to get it together and stop playing politics with our kids' futures.
  • Education & Economy: I want you to vote to remove trump and Mitch McConnell out of the Oval Office today. Flip the senate and take back the White House today. Education and Economy reopening all states and cities. Government Reopening all states and cities around the world and counties. Returning students back to school this year. Let’s Help to stop and slow the spread of virus.

Updates

2020-07-08 10:55:14 -0400

100 signatures reached

2020-07-07 17:18:31 -0400

50 signatures reached

2020-07-07 14:08:55 -0400

25 signatures reached

2020-07-07 11:51:06 -0400

10 signatures reached