On Thursday, May 11th, Schools Chancellor David Banks convened a roundtable with ethnic and community media to present New York City Reads, a new initiative to tackle declining literacy rates in schools. The program, which spans from early childhood education to high school level learning, reintroduces a phonetic learning approach.
New York City has been suffering from declining literacy rates for years. At the announcement of the program, Banks showed a presentation that showed the current state of reading proficiency in New York City schools, with 30% of Asian students, 33% of White students, $63% of Latino students, and 64% of Black students not being proficient in reading as well as not performing algebra at grade level. The New York City Reads program was created to address the stagnant and decreasing rates.
The media roundtable hosted by Chancellor Banks is evidence of the value he, and the current Adams administration, places on ethnic and community media. It shows that Chancellor Banks is serious about working collaboratively with parents as partners, something that cannot be said for previous administrations.
The roundtable was attended by over 20 outlets representing the melting pot of New York City. Bengali, Caribbean, Chinese, Burkinabe, South African, Nigerian, Jewish, Latino, Pakistani, and other outlets were present and participated in the roundtable discussion.
LittleAfrica News was in attendance, with Founder Mona Davids asking Chancellor Banks how the administration plans to track and ensure the execution of the new program, especially in regard to the overhaul required by principals and teachers to incorporate the new program into the current curriculums. Dr. Danika Rux, Deputy Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, responded by saying the city would be doing professional development across all schools. She ensured that all teachers would be teaching the program the same way. All of the schools will be discarding the previous materials and books to accommodate the new phonetic learning strategies.
New York City Public Schools will be sending information about the new literacy program to families so they are aware of the curriculum shift and can support their children’s learning.