4. The long-term effects of COVID-19 on students and schools will take years to understand. It is widely acknowledged that arts education provides authentic ways for students to build long-term social-emotional competencies (such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, empathy, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making). How will you provide school communities with the tools and resources needed to confront and address trauma while fostering a welcoming, supportive environment?
Creating supportive, healthy environments in public schools would be one of my top priorities as Mayor. I would put schools first in line for investment in a budget that centers the needs of our students and teachers. Creating a more equitable school system is one of my top 3 priorities as Mayor and, in my first 100 days, I will execute an Educational Equity Executive Order to finally desegregate schools, eliminate disparities, and hold agencies accountable for inequitable educational outcomes. A primary part of eliminating disparities and increasing equity is addressing imbalances and injustices in school funding. Low-income and predominantly Black and brown schools need the most funding and, too often, they get the least. As Mayor, I will immediately direct my administration to examine disparities in funding, resources, and services in relation to demographics and socioeconomic status, so that we can quickly rectify those gaps and build a funding scheme that corrects these inequities in the long term. I will also marshal revenue streams, including rerouting funds from the NYPD, to fully fund the school capital plan to allow for the elimination of school overcrowding; for class size reduction; to eliminate all facilities to be free of mold, asbestos, and lead; and upgrade each building to be properly ventilated and accessible to students with disabilities. These issues are disproportionately present in Black and brown schools, and the pandemic has only made the situation worse. Full funding is an important step in addressing these injustices. Students must feel supported in order to begin healing, and that means ensuring schools have the resources they need.