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NYC Schools Chancellor David Banks shares his vision for Department of Education

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NYC schools chancellor David Banks announces revamping plans 03:04

NEW YORK -- After two months on the job, new Schools Chancellor David Banks is offering harsh criticism of the Department of Education.

On Wednesday, he laid out a new path for ending bureaucracy, equipping all students with a career path to the middle class, and improving school safety.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported, the chancellor wants to hire 1,000 new school safety agents to deal with a dramatic increase in weapons brought to class.

Hundreds of school employees packed DOE headquarters to hear how Banks plans to end the legendary bureaucracy and wrong-headed programs that have resulted in a staggering 65% of minority students graduating without being able to read.

But first Banks had to cope with an unanticipated snag -- the teleprompter with his speech broke down, forcing him to adlib his entire presentation.

"It's not moving. This is our $38 billion bureaucracy," Banks said to laughter.

The teleprompter incident was emblematic of the problems Banks is confronting, a school system so broken that even before the pandemic 120,000 parents took their kids out of city schools. He said they, "decided to vote with their feet and to say, 'We're going to find other alternatives and other choices for our children.' That's an indictment on the work that we have done."

Schools Chancellor Banks shares his vision for DOE 41:23

Mayor Eric Adams also served notice on school employees that they better get on the program of re-inventing the school system.

"If you're not part of this team and committed to finally turning around this bureaucracy that has professionalized and has professionalized failing children, this is not the moment to be part of this administration," Adams said.

The chancellor's plan includes:

* Changing how reading is taught to a proven phonics-based system so that each student can read by third grade
* New screening methods to identify dyslexia at an early age
* Making sure each student graduates with a diploma and a pathway to a good job

And with a dramatic increase in weapons being brought into the classroom, the chancellor told Kramer increasing the depleted ranks of school safety agents is a top priority.

"I'd like to get closer to about a thousand more more SSAs," Banks said.

Gregory Floyd, the head of the school safety union, said that would be a good first step, because there is a shortage of as many as 2,000.

"It will mean that additional school safety agents that will help stem the problem of violence in city schools," Floyd said.

The chancellor is also taking aim at unneeded bureaucracy. On Wednesday, he eliminated five executive superintendent positions, saving millions of dollars. Next up, the borough offices that employ thousands and thousands of people. He wants to know why all those people are necessary.

Banks said he also wants to develop initiatives to support the social and emotional needs of students and families who endured two years of a traumatic pandemic.


Banks lays out 4 pillars of plan

NEW YORK -- Chancellor Banks outlined four main pillars of his plan, including:

  1. Reimagine the student experience with focus on career pathways and civic education
  2. Support educators and share what's working within the DOE
  3. Prioritize wellness, including nutrition and class trips
  4. Create partnerships with parents

"We spend $38 billion every single year to get the outcomes that we get, where 65% of Black and brown children never receive proficiency. It's a betrayal," Banks said. "That's why we wanted to make this announcement right here today in the hall of the headquarters of the Department of Education."

By CBS New York Team

Mayor Adams introduces Chancellor Banks: "We will not fail"

NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams introduced Banks, saying they spent eight years talking about the changes they would make -- not if, but when -- he became mayor. 

Mayor Eric Adams introduces Schools Chancellor David Banks on March 2, 2022 in New York City. CBS2

He said Banks is the man for the moment, and called on all educators to commit to his vision.

"If you're not part of this team and committed to finally turning around this bureaucracy that has professionalized failing children, failing teachers, failing principals, failing school crossing guards, failing those security agents, failing, failing, failing. If you are not part of this team, then this is not the moment to be in this administration," Adams said. "We are committed and dedicated to turning around this school system." 

By CBS New York Team

CBS2's exclusive interview with then-incoming Chancellor Banks

NEW YORK -- CBS2's Political Reporter Marcia Kramer sat down with then-incoming Schools Chancellor David Banks shortly after he was appointed to discuss his plans to overhaul the Department of Education. 

Banks told Kramer he starts out with the belief that the New York City education system is essentially flawed and needs to be fixed from the bottom up.

(credit: CBS2)

When Mayor Eric Adams introduced Banks as the new schools chancellor, he said he thought long and hard about the person he was going to trust with what he called "my babies."

It's a responsibility the new schools chancellor takes seriously, and he said his first step is to go back to the very basics of learning. He said, in all frankness, that New York City schools don't have the right techniques to teach reading.

"They're teaching wrong," Banks told Kramer.

CLICK HERE to see the full story

By CBS New York Team
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