One of the biggest proponents of creating Charter Schools was legendary United Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker. His vision of charters as a laboratory for innovation has been corrupted by corporations that care more about earnings than education. We must hold charter schools that receive state funding to the same standards as our public schools, and that begins with transparency. I will fully support legislation like A00781 and S6578 which will require all charter schools to open up their books and show the public its revenue sources, disciplinary procedures, and other metrics designed show that there is only one beneficiary of these institutions: the students.
In the most recent election, turnout was once again abysmal. About 1/5 of all NYC voters went to the polls on November 7th, continuing a 24 year downward trend. Studies show that a major cause of voter apathy is the lack of comprehensive civics education in the classroom. Too much time is being spent remembering places and dates while neglecting fundamental issues like civics. We must solve this problem now, and that is why I would support A06839, which would incorporate civics education into the high school curriculum while making it easier for students to register to vote. (It also lowers the voting age to 17, which I believe is an idea worth exploring.)
Trade School and Apprenticeships
When I was growing up, there was one primary option post-high school: college. Anything else was looked down upon as a necessity rather than a choice. However, I believe that there is another path that can be followed. We must encourage the development of a full workforce, and that includes blue collar jobs. This must be supported by high schools and presented by guidance counselors, not as a fall back, but as a valid alternative to a two or four year college. This will give young people the opportunity to learn a trade, while getting paid to do so, and give them an opportunity at a union job with a living wage, health care benefits, and the beginnings of retirement security.