What I Believe & Why It’s Under Attack…
We Can Agree On The Problem, But These Days if You Disagree With The Suggested Solution, it Shuts The Conversation Down (Or Worse).
There is a problem of diversity and equal access to excellence in the New York City Public School system. We can agree on the problem, but if we diverge in suggested solutions (in fact, to all problems in our city right now) New Yorkers are labeled and shamed.
In 2018, as part of my work on the Community Education Council, I chose to advocate for the SHSAT. This entry test to our city’s top selective high schools was under attack and a larger discussion around diversity ensued and became heated. It’s a conversation I welcomed then and continue to welcome now. But my ideas have become an excuse to label, shame and threaten me.
Think About It … If You Suggest Policy That Is In Opposition To The Most Vocal, Threats Often Ensue…
- If you fight for opening schools, you are publicly shamed as ‘entitled’
- If you believe in specialized high schools or gifted & talented program you are vilified as ‘elitist’ (or worse)
- If you believe that skyscraper jails are not justice or that building them over dense, struggling communities is ill-conceived, you are not ‘progressive’
- If you believe in protecting our children from guns and violence on the streets with better policing, you are ‘against social justice’
I believe the solution to more fair and equitable system of excellence in education requires more of it not less….
More rigorous schools, better schools in every borough, and opportunity spread equally across all children and all neighborhoods in New York City. But having said this has resulted in horrible accusations by a few. Because the opposition believe that testing and screening, and gifted & talented programs are wrong. They won’t debate, they just label you if you disagree.
The same thinking extends to safety on our streets. Advocating for safe streets is not in opposition to social justice.
I am a longtime public defender and know more than any candidate running for office in District 1 what access to justice in the courtroom means. But smart criminal justice reform that we continue to need and must pursue is not in contradiction with keeping our streets safe.