Guest Opinion: Education that Lifts Up All of Our Students

Photo of NYC Mayor Eric Adams by Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office.

BY NYC MAYOR ERIC ADAMS | As New York City’s first openly dyslexic mayor, I know what it is like to not have the support I needed in school growing up. School was often difficult for me. I was scared of being called on by the teacher and my fellow students made fun of me. I know how important it is that our children have a bright start and the support they need for a bold future.

That is why this administration is investing in upstream solutions in our education system, creating conditions that improve outcomes for all our students. We don’t want our children to fall behind because they learn differently, we want them to start out ahead. And this week we are taking another big step forward with two major initiatives: a new vision for special education and a new math curriculum, “NYC Solves.”

“NYC Solves” is a major citywide initiative to make mathematics more accessible for all students — no matter where they go to school or what language they speak at home. This new program will revolutionize how algebra is taught in schools and ensure that all our students have foundational math skills and are being encouraged to excel in mathematics at every level.

We are also creating the Division of Inclusive and Accessible Learning (DIAL), which will be led by a new Deputy Chancellor for Inclusive and Accessible Learning Christina Foti. This new division will utilize a $750 million budget and 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 — no matter their background or ability.

May 9, 2023: NYC Mayor Eric Adams (at podium) at the launch announcement for NYC Reads. | Photo via

The work of DIAL will be guided by external voices through a new advisory council charged with helping shape support systems for immigrant students and their families, so that we can improve educational opportunities and outcomes for every student.

These two new initiatives build on the generational investments we have already made in public education.

In just two years, our administration has implemented a major initiative, “NYC Reads,” to fundamentally change how students learn to read literacy as the core focus and priority of New York City’s public schools. We have also invested over $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.  Our mandated universal dyslexia screening for all students are helping us get students 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.

We have also provided over 42,000 students with offers for a 3-K seat — an increase of 300 percent 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 also added 57 Gifted and Talented programs citywide and added over 26,000 classroom seats through major construction and modernization projects. I am also pleased to report that nine new schools will open in the coming school year, including a new high school focused on health care.

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And because we know that learning doesn’t only take place in the classroom and during the school year, we have expanded popular programs like Summer Rising to bring 110,000 students summer programming. We are committed to helping students enter the workforce with programs like FutureReadyNYC that connect our students to apprenticeships that lead to good-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.

Our New York City Public Schools chancellor, David Banks, and I are both graduates of the New York City school system, and we are committed to continuing our city’s legacy of excellence in public education. We are not going to allow another Eric to sit in the classroom, hoping not to be called on. We are making sure that every student has access to the support and resources they need. We are lifting up our young people and putting them on a pathway to a bright future and making sure that our education system remains unmatched anywhere in this nation.


To visit the Office of the Mayor of New York City online, click here.

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