New Future For Education Needed

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott may have made his last official visit to Queens schools this week, as we wait to find out who Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will appoint as his chief education official.

It was good to see a Queens native lead the Dept. of Education over the last two-and-a-half years, but we wish Walcott’s time as Chancellor would have been marked with more educational successes and less controversy over test scores and school closures. Whatever intentions Walcott had when he took the position in 2011, his time in the role is undeniably tied to the wildly unpopular educational policies of the Bloomberg administration’s last four years.

We credit the Mayor for taking on the responsibilities of overseeing the City’s education system, something no Mayor before him wanted to do. During his first eight years, Bloomberg sought to reform the education system, expand technology in the classroom and improve the learning experience for students. However, his last four years have been disastrous.

Over the last few weeks, we have expressed a wishlist for our incoming electeds. On top of that list is a desire for wide-reaching education reforms. Instead of trying to close struggling schools, the City needs to find ways to help those schools achieve greater heights. Instead of creating a culture of inequality by co-locating more resource-rich schools into one with significantly less, we should find ways to provide the latest technologies and textbooks to all students.

We hope that whoever the Mayor-elect selects as his new schools chancellor eschews the positions of the past 12 years and finds ways to raise the standards of the City’s educational system to new heights.