The coronavirus pandemic has pulled back the curtain on the inequalities inherent in our schools. The lack of access to computers, tablets, and Wi-Fi; a shortage of teachers for students with special needs; and buildings that lack proper ventilation is resulting in hundreds of thousands of kids being left behind. And the situation is even worse for our homeless and housing insecure student population. Our school buildings, administrators, teachers, and students must have access to the resources and technology they need to safely and effectively teach and learn.
A proud product of the New York City public school system, Council Member Salamanca has experienced firsthand the gaps caused by of funding in Bronx schools. As a district manager and a Council Member, Salamanca has made it priority to provide our children with the best learning environment, starting with investing in early education. Since being elected to office, Salamanca has delivered over $14 million in capital funding to Bronx schools, including more than $4.6 million for technology upgrades, STEM labs, smart boards and equipment. As we enter a more digital-driven world, this funding ensures children in the Bronx will have the knowledge to compete and thrive in the digital era.
With homelessness disproportionately impacting school-aged children, Council Member Salamanca passed legislation requiring the Department of Education to expand reporting of the number of students living in temporary housing to help provide for more in-depth services and guidance. He has spoken directly with principals, teachers, parents and students about DOE’s horrific failures in supporting our students, demanding Chancellor Carranza and Mayor de Blasio ensure all students have take-home devices with broadband capabilities, and that all shelters have free Wi-Fi.
Salamanca's Plan for Education
As our students, parents, and educators face unprecedented challenges, we need leadership that will do whatever is necessary to secure the support and resources our schools need to ensure no student is left behind. Salamanca will work to ensure all students have the technology they need to learn in and out of the classroom and that our schools have the infrastructure improvements they need to keep our students and educators safe.
• Provide capital funding for school infrastructure repairs and technology, specifically to purchase chrome books
• Work with city leadership to expand broadband access in NYCHA and low-income communities.
• Ensure teachers have the training and resources they need to successfully teach remotely.
• Work with leaders to develop a long-term, detailed coronavirus plan for our schools, including testing and ensuring schools have proper ventilation.
When we overcome the coronavirus pandemic, we must build our educational system better.
• Ensure every school has a social worker and a nurse.
• Work with the Department of Education and school administrators to address teacher shortages, especially for special education and English-Language-Learning teachers.
Beyond that, Rafael is committed to ensuring our students -- no matter their age -- have access to the training and skills they need to be ready for the job force.
• Convene regular meetings with education, union, and business leaders to make sure students develop the skills needed to be hired and meet the needs of local businesses.
• Strengthen partnerships with schools and unions to improve access to apprenticeships and job training programs
Educational opportunities should not be limited to just our young people. Rafael will partner with community organizations to host financial literacy workshops and citizenship classes.