Adams’ control over the public school system still up in the air

The school year is about to end, but questions remain about what kind of control of the public education system Mayor Eric Adams will have beyond the summer.

“Uncertainty cannot be on the agenda,” Adams said Monday at a press conference with Schools Chancellor David Banks and union members from the Hotel Trades Council and 32BJ SEIU.

The current measure giving Adams the power to choose the school’s chancellor and nine of the 15 members of the Panel for Educational Policy will expire on June 30.

What do you want to know

  • Current measure giving Adams full control of education policy expires June 30
  • Since 2002, Albany has regularly given New York mayors full control of the public school system.
  • Some lawmakers want parents to play a bigger role in decision-making

Since 2002, Albany has consistently granted New York City mayors full control of public schools, and Adams says there is no alternative.

“Sometimes when you create a plan B, C, D, and E, you’re setting yourself up to fail, and we’re not,” Adams said. “We have a plan, plan A. Plan A is the responsibility of the mayor. We believe people understand how important this is and that is our goal.

But lawmakers are looking for concessions.

“We didn’t feel the need to rush as the mayor and governor would have liked to see,” said Queens State Sen. John Liu. He thinks the legislator will eventually renew the measure, but he would like parents to have a greater role in the decision-making process.

“We’re trying to instill some measure of real accountability, not just rhetorical accountability,” he added.

Changes to school catering

While the mayor’s scrutiny hangs in the balance, students could soon see changes to their school meals.

Joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Monday, Adams announced that New York was joining 14 other cities in signing the “Good Food Cities Declaration”.

By 2030, New York will need to align its food supply to a diet primarily based on organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and limited amounts of meat and dairy.

“We need to invest in healthy and affordable food. We’re not going to put junk food people out of business until we remove the demand for junk food,” Adams said.

The goal is to improve the health of New Yorkers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from food production.

Jeremy S. McLain