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Opening Schools Five Days a Week

New York City serves the largest student population of any American city, accounting for 1.1 million students in 1,866 schools. With the largest budget of any NYC agency, our schools are struggling and we must do much more to help all students excel. In the school year of 2018-2019, only 47% of NYC students met the state’s standards for proficiency in English, and only 46% in math. This was the last full school year before COVID-19 hit and we know the pandemic has only worsened results and outcomes for students. National research has shown significant learning loss, particularly in math, now known as the “Covid achievement gap.” The Wall Street Journal reported that it would take 12 weeks for 5th and 6th graders to catch up to where they were expected to be in the fall of 2020. 

Andrew Yang’s top priority is ensuring that students are back in school. That is why he has expressed the strongest support for reopening schools to all families who want in-person instruction 5 days a week. Andrew understands that Zoom is not our friend. To combat the deep challenges that our public school students face, Andrew will orient his education agenda around increasing enrichment and support services to eliminate the Covid achievement gap for all of our students.

Andrew Yang believes in cultivating excellent teachers and will work closely with educators to ensure their needs are met in a post-Covid environment. For the teachers we have: Andrew Yang is prepared to invest in your training and retraining for post-pandemic reality and all that comes with it. For the teachers we need: Andrew Yang will build the most diverse, talented and celebrated pool of educators in any city in the world. 

Andrew Yang is a public school parent who is fiercely committed to improving the quality of education and that of students' experience at school. He will work alongside all stakeholders including educators, parents, students, community partners and more to create a more diverse, nurturing and academically excellent school system. 

School Reopening

Provide in-person learning options 5-days a week.

As a parent with two young children, Andrew Yang understands the challenges the past year has presented with remote learning. Well over a year into the pandemic and kids are still suffering through “zoom in a room” and in-person schedules that are much less than 5 days a week for most students. The truth is that remote learning has not worked for our city, and especially for our most disadvantaged students. Many students with IEPs were unable to receive their related services and supports as mandated by their IEP. It’s predicted that elementary students will be nearly a full year behind in math compared to a normal year and one in three will lose skills in reading and writing. In NYC, absentee rates have been shockingly high during remote learning with nearly half of public schools maintaining attendance rates that fall below what education experts consider acceptable. It has been estimated that enrollment in NYCDOE schools has decreased by 43,000 with other estimates much higher, after two decades of growth. This has been particularly true for schools that serve students with disabilities and at transfer high schools for students who are already behind on credits. The lost learning of the past year means that globally, students currently in school stand to lose $10 trillion in labor earnings over their work life, one tenth of global GDP. The average American student is predicted to earn $61,000 to $82,000 less over the span of their careers because of this year’s learning loss, with Black and Hispanic students’ earnings expected to be hit especially hard. 

Further, the trauma of the pandemic has been compounded by the trauma and anxiety of the pandemic’s health and economic toll on families, social isolation of remote learning and many New York students are facing mental health crises.

Moreover, while teachers and school administrators usually play an important role in identifying and reporting child abuse, this year, many at-risk children have been isolated from these vital connections resulting in a drop in child abuse reports by 21% in NYC but a horrific increase in hospitalizations in suspected and confirmed child abuse and neglect cases. Andrew Yang has expressed his strong support for reopening schools 5 days a week for in-person learning and believes that schools should follow the science and CDC guidelines while allowing families to make their personal decisions in accordance with their comfort level and personal circumstances. 

This is why Andrew Yang is a proponent of Mayoral control, which requires vision, clear leadership and accountability, both in times of crisis and not.

Supporting Our Teachers

Focus on what teachers need: greater opportunities for consistent training and professional development. 

As expressed throughout this platform, Andrew Yang will focus multiple efforts to retrain teachers in all grades and all schools so that they have what they need to teach in a post-pandemic world. We must invest in teacher health, safety and professional freedom. Andrew Yang will develop a teacher apprenticeship program that improves student-teacher ratios while allowing senior teachers to develop newer professionals. 

Create pathways for more teachers of color and teachers with disabilities to address historic inequities in special education. 

Andrew Yang will also forge pathways for men of color to enter the teaching profession. In 2016, just 3.7 percent of the more than 70,000 city public school teachers were Black men. Three percent were Latino men and less than 2 percent Asian men. In 2020, the de Blasio administration set a goal of adding 1,000 men of color to the pathway to become teachers by 2022. Andrew Yang will use the power of the DOE as the largest employer of public school teachers in the country to see this goal to completion through recruitment and retention efforts, such as residency programs that invest in future educators

He will also create a NYC teacher pipeline through the “Big Apple Corps,” which will bring 10,000 Americorps volunteers to Title 1 schools with emphasis on “inclusive learning” and a long term investment in serving NYC’s public school students.

Be sure to read Andrew Yang's other plans for education. His priorities include:
  • Tirelessly advocating for schools to reopen 5-days a week for any student who wants to return to daily in-person learning.
  • Ensuring our schools will be at the center of our economic comeback strategy by developing strong partnerships between our schools, universities and employers; provide high school students with career mentors, job opportunities and credit-bearing internships so they leave high school with strong career prospects and fuel our future economic growth. 
  • Making up for the “Covid slide.” Andrew Yang will implement scientific-based and data-driven practices to bring students up to speed through in-class instruction, high-dosage tutoring, after-school and summer school programs that both prepare students and allow parents to go back to work. Yang will also focus on addressing the trauma and mental health repercussions of the pandemic on entire school communities. 
  • Preparing all of our students to graduate high school with the option to attend college or get a good-paying job, leading to a rewarding career. All students need to be caught up and on track to meet their goals for college and career; we'll do that through tutoring, re-training a more diverse teacher and principal workforce on effective methods to catch kids up, social and mental health supports, and grants to low-income parents to use for enrichment or other student needs, including support for students with special needs.
  • Ensure every student’s identity is affirmed so that kids see themselves in their coursework, teachers and opportunities. 
  • Work in concert with school communities to strategically and thoughtfully invest the nearly $4.5 billion federal stimulus funding slated for NYC schools. Priorities include expanding summer programming and creating Community Schools in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic. Yang will formulate a multi-year recovery strategy using these funds, rather than just using the funds for isolated initiatives or to plug budget holes.


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