Home News Eric Adams: Delivering on our vision for inclusive learning

Eric Adams: Delivering on our vision for inclusive learning

Public education is the foundation of opportunity in New York City, a chance for every child to get a world-class education that sets them up for success in the future — including the children of multilingual families and students with learning disabilities. As a student who struggled with dyslexia in class and dreaded being called upon by my teachers, this mission is personal for me. 

We know that if we intervene early with upstream measures, we will stop students from falling behind. That is why we are taking another big step towards inclusive education with the creation of the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning, or DIAL.

This new division — a first-ever for New York City Public Schools — is utilizing a $750 million budget and the offices’ combined 1,300 staff to focus on supporting multilingual learners and students with disabilities, so that every student can be prepared for a rewarding career and long-term economic security.

DIAL will be led by new Deputy Chancellor for Inclusive and Accessible Learning Christina Foti, who has been a tireless advocate for underserved students throughout her career. By creating this new division spearheaded by a proven leader at the deputy chancellor level, we are ensuring that the needs of our most historically underserved students are baked into everything we do and that these students and their families are prioritized. 

The work of DIAL will also be supported by external voices through a new multilingual learners advisory council that will advocate for immigrant students and their families, in addition to the existing special education advisory council. This will ensure that we improve educational opportunities and outcomes for every student, regardless of their background, with the necessary community-input and the collaboration it takes to achieve success. 

This new division also builds on the great strides we have made in education. In just two years, our administration has implemented “NYC Reads,” a major literacy initiative, which is fundamentally changing how students learn to read. The program is already in 90% of New York City’s early childhood education classrooms and half of our elementary schools with the rest coming online in September.

Our mandated universal dyslexia screenings — a first in the nation — for all students, is helping us get children the support they need early on, and we have created the first-ever public school dedicated to supporting students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities. 

Our work has been focused on increasing access to opportunities. To do that, we have provided offers to more than 42,000 children for 3-K, an increase of more than 300% in the last five years and we are continuing to work to ensure that every child who wants an early childhood education seat will have access to one.

We have added 57 Gifted and Talented programs citywide and more than 26,000 classroom seats through major construction and modernization projects, and improved math scores by double digits. 

We have also invested more than $600 million to protect critical programs that were funded with temporary stimulus dollars, including arts funding, teacher recruitment efforts, restorative justice programming, computer science programs, “Civics for All,” school social workers and psychologists, and much more.

We know that learning doesn’t only take place during the school year, so we are continuing our incredibly popular Summer Rising program to bring 110,000 students summer academics and enrichment activities.

And we are committed to ensuring that each one of our students graduates high school with not just a diploma, but the skills, credits, and experiences preparing them to make a good living when they enter the workforce and achieve economic security.

We are doing just that with programs like FutureReadyNYC, which connects our students to apprenticeships that lead to well-paying careers. This work has resulted in students earning a cumulative $8.2 million from paid work experiences at top companies over the past two years alone. 

As mayor, it is my responsibility to build upon our city’s legacy of excellence in public education, but we must also do this with an eye toward equity and inclusion in everything we do and that is what this announcement is about.

As students and graduates of the city’s public schools, Chancellor David Banks and I have the experience and vision to ensure that our public-school families are getting the results they deserve.

Together, our work represents a generational investment in public education and a better future for all our students. This administration is not going to allow another future mayor to sit in the classroom, hoping not to be called on because of his or her learning differences.

We are going to make sure the doors of opportunity are wide open and welcoming to all.

 Adams is mayor of New York.


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