They vowed revolution is coming to the Department of Education, and the old way of doing things is out the window.READ MORE: NYPD Officer Jason Rivera Fatally Shot, Officer Wilbert Mora Critically Injured Responding To Harlem Domestic Dispute
Adams made the announcement outside P.S. 161 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn — where Banks went to school. While it was a homecoming, it also marked a new beginning.
“We spend $38 billion every year in this system, and 65% of Black and brown children never achieve proficiency. That’s a betrayal, and we ought to be outraged by that, and we need to lean into that,” Banks told the crowd. “You can get those results if you never had a department of education … Let me tell you something. If 65% of white children were not reaching proficiency in the city, they would burn the city down.”
Adams and Banks don’t want to burn the school system down, they want to build the school system up and start a revolution in education from the bottom up.
Adams said he spent the last eight years talking to Banks, the founding principal of the Eagle Academy in the Bronx, about how to better educate students. Banks didn’t mince words, making it clear as chancellor he intends to totally overhaul the education system in the city.
WATCH: Mayor-Elect Adams Introduces David Banks As NYC Schools Chancellor
As CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer reports, target number one may be the top heavy bureaucracy at the Department of Education installed by Mayor Bill de Blasio and former chancellor Richard Carranza.
“Change is coming,” said Banks.
“David Banks is built for this,” Adams added.
Adams said he picked Banks because they both want to see a system that supports teachers and principals, not bureaucrats.
“We are getting ready to not just play around with this, we’re going to turn over the tables,” Banks said. “What’s the value add for having thousands of people who work at Tweed? For having thousands of people in these high paid positions? There needs to be a transformation, and it will start at the top. We will turn the tables over.”
Kramer asked the mayor-elect whose jobs may be on the line.
“Every job that educates, protects and cares for children will be safe. Be clear what I said,” Adams replied. “If you’re there because you enjoy going to conferences, if you’re there because you’re using taxpayer dollars to extend your educational criteria to pad your resume, if you’re there for anything other than educating our children, then you should be concerned.”
“We are going to be committed to decentralizing a lot of the bureaucracy,” Banks said. “We’re gonna push people closer to where the action is. The action is in schools. We recently saw the current mayor sending people from Tweed to go to work in schools, and people were coming out of Tweed, were like, my lord, I’ve never worked around kids before. What am I supposed to do? … We gotta change that.”READ MORE: 'The Loss Of A Hero': New York Mourns Death Of 22-Year-Old NYPD Officer Jason Rivera
Adams said he wants to educate the whole child, and that includes making sure they have eyeglasses and healthy food if they need. He’s also committed to testing every child to see if they have dyslexia.
The mayor-elect is also vowing a laser-like focus on the Department of Education’s budget. He says right now, the money is not being spent properly and taxpayers are being shortchanged.
New York City public school parents are preparing a so-called “honey-do” list for Banks.
“Getting the schools back in order. Getting the curriculum back in order. Making sure everybody’s passing, nobody is left behind,” parent Rachel Wilson said. “Getting the kids back playing together. Letting kids enjoy school again.”
“As of right now, the most imminent priority is busing and people’s transportation. It has been horrendous since the summer,” parent Paulette Healy said. “We need to make sure we prioritize making sure we get our students to school.”
Banks made it clear he welcomes the challenge.
“I have not accepted this assignment because I wanted to be chancellor. I didn’t come looking for a job. I came to do a job,” he said.
David Banks is a consummate educator and our @NYCSchools families are lucky to have him at the helm – we know that great DOE Chancellors are born at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice!
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) December 9, 2021
De Blasio applauded the announcement, saying families are lucky to have Banks at the helm.
“David Banks is a consummate educator and our @NYCSchools families are lucky to have him at the helm – we know that great DOE Chancellors are born at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice!” de Blasio tweeted. “Mayor-elect @ericadamsfornyc has made a great choice to lead our schools.”
The teachers union also said it looks forward to working with Banks.
“David Banks is an educator who cares deeply about children. We have worked well with David in the past, and we look forward to continuing that relationship as he takes on the challenge of running 1,600 schools still suffering from the effects of the pandemic,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said in a statement.With Tragic Shooting Of 2 Police Officers In Harlem, 5 NYPD Officers Have Been Shot In January
Editor’s note: This story was first published Dec. 9.