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City Hall snubbed from seats on Governor’s ‘Reimagine Education’ schools council

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new advisory “Reimagine Education” council, devised to help schools bridge gaps in virtual learning and protect the health and safety of students and faculty as schools prepare to reopen, does not include a single member of New York City’s Department of Education. 

There are over 1.1 million students attend a New York City public school making the largest school system in the country. The decision to excluded a representative from the state’s largest education department was first reported by Chalkbeat. 

“One in every three students in the state attends a New York City public school,” said spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio Freddi Goldstein in a statement. “There is no ‘reimagined education’ without the interests of our kids and families represented.”

A City Hall spokesperson added that the Governor’s office did not ask the city’s Department of Education to participate on the council.
 

Moreover, the City University of New York also does not have a member on the “Reimagine” panel.

The governor’s office released a statement listing members of the council, dubbed the Reimagine Education Advisory Council, on Friday afternoon which features former City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and will be chaired by SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. 

“When we closed school facilities because of the COVID-19 virus, our teachers and students rose to the occasion, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for their heroic work,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “Like everything else, when we do reopen schools it’s not just about reopening as they were before, it’s about building back even better than before. The collective expertise and experience of this new advisory council will help answer key questions about how we can strengthen New York’s entire education system for decades to come.”

Along with working with education experts, the advisory council will work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to “develop a blueprint to reimagine education in the new normal,” according to statement from the governor’s office. 

Here is the full list of advisory council members:

  • Kaweeda Adams, Superintendent, Albany City School District
  • Jaime Alicea, Superintendent, Syracuse City School District
  • Jody Arnhold, Founder, Dance Educator Laboratory
  • Melodie Baker, Director of Education, United Way of Buffalo & Erie County
  • Kyle Belokopitsky, Executive Director, New York State PTA
  • Meg Benke, Provost, SUNY Empire State College
  • Jackie Burbridge, Parent, Suffolk County
  • Katie Campos, Partner, Strategic Collective
  • Anthony Collins, President, Clarkson University
  • Stephanie Conklin, Master Teacher, South Colonie Central School District
  • George Dermody, CEO, The Children Home of Wyoming Conference
  • Karol Mason, President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Austin Ostro, President, SUNY Student Assembly
  • Martin Palermo, Master Teacher, William Floyd School District
  • Roger Ramsammy, President, Hudson Valley Community College
  • Seema Rivera, President, Guilderland Central School District School Board
  • Shannon Tahoe, Interim Commissioner, New York State Education Department
  • Dennis Walcott, Former Chancellor, New York State Department of Education
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers

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