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February 24th, 2021

Andrew Yang Endorses Marjorie Velázquez for Council As Pair Calls for ‘Big Apple Corps’ to Mobilize 10,000 Young Adults to Tutor New York City’s At-Risk Students

**RELEASE** February 24th, 2021

New York, NYToday, February 24, Andrew Yang, Democratic candidate for mayor of NYC, endorsed Marjorie Velázquez in her race for NYC Council District 13. Together, the pair announced support for a policy Yang plans to pursue in his administration that would mobilize 10,000 recent college graduates to serve in The Big Apple Corps, tutoring New York City children who have experienced learning loss because of the pandemic.

This week, Congress is debating President Biden’s stimulus package, including a $1 billion investment in service jobs, with the bulk going toward AmeriCorps. Yang is calling for at least 10,000 AmeriCorps fellows to be sent to NY with the goal of tutoring at least 100,000 low-income students in Title 1 schools.

The plan addresses head-on the impact felt by the City’s 1.1 million public school students, particularly those in Title I schools. With an abrupt transition to remote learning that did not equip students fairly, many low-income students and students of color did not — and still do not — have the technology and broadband access needed to access school lessons. In fact, one report showed that as many as 2,600 NYC students haven’t connected with school, either remotely or in-person, this year.

Recent graduates are struggling to find jobs, with 19 percent of adults under 25 in the city losing jobs compared with 14 percent of all workers. Yet at the same time, young people are eager to serve their communities and we must expand national service programs to meet communities’ needs while giving young people a pathway to careers in education.

Said Marjorie Velázquez, “I want to thank Andrew Yang for his endorsement and for coming to the Bronx to announce The Big Apple Corps. Thanks for recognizing the importance of our communities and our movement in solidifying change and recovery in NYC.”

Said Andrew Yang, “Far too many students have had their education seriously disrupted by the pandemic. We need all hands on deck to overcome a year of lost learning. That’s why we plan to recruit 10,000 new AmeriCorps tutors so long as Congress provides the City with its fair share of funding. We need to channel resources like that to meet the needs of  the children of our City, whose parents are desperate for innovative solutions that ensure their kids don’t fall even further behind.”

The Big Apple Corps will:

  • Be powered by AmeriCorps and supported by business and philanthropy.
  • Provide students with one-on-one and small group tutoring throughout the academic year.
  • Offer enrichment opportunities and social-emotional support for students as they recover from missed instruction due to the pandemic.
  • Pair each tutor with 10 students, across all five boroughs, starting with Title I schools, in coordination with local nonprofits who have already been on-the-ground, serving the hardest hit communities for years. 
  • Strengthen pipelines to enable tutors to become lifelong NYC teachers through facilitating partnerships with CUNY to receive master’s degrees in education, with emphasis on special education certification.

Federal funding will provide the bulk of the financing for this initiative through the AmeriCorps program, which pays members a modest living allowance during their year of service as a tutor. A Yang administration will also work with private partners like these in supplementing any additional costs to augment the program beyond federal funding.

The impacts of this proposal go beyond the immediate benefits to the students receiving the tutoring. Every $1 invested in national service produces about $4 in benefits, not accounting for the emotional, social, psychological and career benefits accrued to those doing the serving, not just those who are being served.

In the short-term, Yang urges Congress to invest $1 billion for national service positions in the American Rescue Plan, which support will be critical to launching the Big Apple Corps in New York City and around the U.S.

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