When I was in 3rd grade at P.S. 181 I had the best teacher in the whole entire world Ms. Upshur. Without saying anything to her, she always knew when one of us was in need. One day, while everyone went to recess, she kept me in class to talk. She asked about my home life and I told her about the fire my family experienced and how it led to us moving into the neighborhood in the middle of the school year. A few days later, when the other kids went outside for recess, she went into the closet and pulled out two big bags of brand-new clothes. She told me to try them on and said I could keep anything that fit. It was awesome because I’d been recycling the same three outfits for school because they were all I had left after the fire. That isn’t something she had to do it was something she wanted to do. Educators have been doing deeds like this for their students for years all while being underpaid for their services.
We need to improve everything about education in NYC. We need to raise pay for teachers, create smaller classrooms, upgrade school equipment, raise budgets to improve lunches and provide the supplies teachers need so they don’t spend money out of their own pockets like Mrs. Upshur did for me.
I would like to see:
1. Education Equality and School Parity: Every single public school should have equal access to the same public-school funding and education whether the school is on Park Avenue or Flatbush Avenue.
2. More funding to public schools for upgrades, services, and supplies.
3. Raise in teachers’ salaries so they can live like the heroes they are.
4. Add shop classes back to the curriculum like sewing, mechanics, and woodwork so students can have exposure to various vocational trades which have high paying jobs that go unfilled due to lack of knowledge or interest. Also, add life-skills courses like cooking and money management so they are ready for the world.
5. Offer S.T.E.A.M. classes for all children in public schools (especially in under-served neighborhoods). By incorporating science, technology, engineering, math and art, student will develop the critical thinking, creativity, and skills needed to succeed in the modern world.
6. Get rid of common core. Common core is a confusing failed experiment. It does not promote the learning and growth our children deserve. Yes, kids may get a correct answer, however, if the explanation is incorrect points are deducted and that is not fair.
7. Start a 2-year apprenticeship program for young adults graduating high school who plan to forego college. They can learn while they earn and once they complete their apprenticeship they will have both the skills and experience to be hired or start their own company. Also, start an apprenticeship program for adults looking to switch careers and need to earn while they learn.
8. Remove NYPD from public schools and stop the school to prison pipeline. Children at this age need teaching not prison records and Black and Brown children shouldn’t have to spend their school days in fear for their life from the people who are supposed to be guarding them.