June 24, 2024

New York City Leadership Announces Historic Investment In Math Instruction, Following Advocacy from Educators

NEW YORK CITY – Gathered at Samara Community School in the Bronx this afternoon, Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks announced plans to make historic investments in middle school mathematics curriculum and professional learning, addressing an urgent need for high-quality math instruction, with the launch of “NYC Solves.”

Following Educators for Excellence-New York’s (E4E-NY) persistent advocacy, which consisted of nearly 1,000 petition signatures, policy recommendations from a cohort of E4E-NY educators, and an event held with Chancellor Banks and city leadership that called for substantial investments in middle school math curriculum, schools will now take a collaborative, problem-solving approach to address the city’s math achievement crisis. This fall, 93 middle schools in eight districts and 420 high schools across the city will use the Illustrative Math curriculum, supported by intensive teacher coaching.  

The Adams administration also announced the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning (DIAL). Long-time Chief of Special Education Christina Foti will be elevated to deputy chancellor to lead this new division. Under her leadership, this new division will focus on supporting multilingual learners and students with disabilities.

“Today’s announcement shows that Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have heard the voices of NYC educators and parents calling for rigorous, high-quality curriculum and significant support,” said Marielys Divanne, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-New York. “NYC Solves is another huge and much-needed step forward in helping our students achieve better outcomes in math. In addition, we’re encouraged to see the city double down on its commitment to special education and multilingual language learners by elevating an experienced educational leader in Christina Foti to Deputy Chancellor. New York City is raising the bar for all students.”

Educators say investing in math at the middle school level is critical. While NYC Reads’ investment in literacy was a positive first step, numeracy is equally important.

“New York City students’ math test scores dropped during the pandemic and have not recovered, so it’s encouraging to see New York City leadership enhance its support, particularly at the middle school level,” said Linneh Quinn, a New York City Algebra teacher. “Students must master foundational math skills to be successful in higher-level math courses, and we need students to be ready in math before they reach high school.”

Educators were also encouraged by announced investments in supporting multilingual learners and students with disabilities. 

“The city’s investment in classrooms like mine is extremely encouraging,” said Sharon Roberts, an elementary school special education teacher in Queens. “Through the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning, I’m excited that New York City can hopefully enhance its support for educators like me seeking the best for our district 75 students.”

While advocates celebrate today’s announcement, they caution that more work is needed to ensure New York City’s literacy and math investments become the national model for other large school districts.

“Today’s announcement is a massive and overwhelmingly positive step in the right direction,” said Divanne. “Now we must ensure that these curricular options are expanded to all grades and implemented effectively with constant feedback from educators and high-quality, ongoing, and curriculum-aligned professional learning. Curriculum is important, but it also must be supplemented with the right training and support to ensure its success.”

For more information on the expanded math support initiative and the advocacy efforts of NYC educators, please visit E4E-NY’s website.


About Educators for Excellence

Founded by public school teachers, Educators for Excellence is a growing movement of more than 35,000 educators, united around a common set of values and principles for improving student learning and elevating the teaching profession. We work together to identify issues that impact our schools, create solutions to these challenges, and advocate for policies and programs that give all students access to a quality education. 

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New York City Leadership Announces Historic Investment In Math Instruction, Following Advocacy from Educators