COMPLETE VIDEO: 183rd CityLaw Breakfast with DOE Chancellor David C. Banks

DOE Chancellor Banks. Image Credit: New York Law School.

Today, December 16, 2022, NYC Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks spoke at the 183rd CityLaw Breakfast. Professor Ross Sandler, Director of the Center for New York City Law, provided opening remarks. Dean and President of New York Law School Anthony W. Crowell joined for a closing conversation. This Breakfast was sponsored by ConEdison, Greenberg Traurig, and Verizon. This was the seventeenth virtual CityLaw Breakfast as in-person events are not feasible at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chancellor Banks first spoke about his background growing up in a family that emphasized the importance of public service. He taught and attended law school at night, and eventually worked for the New York City Law Department. Banks discussed opening Eagle Academies in each of the five boroughs and in Newark to serve young Black boys who are historically underserved in education settings. 

Chancellor Banks emphasized the importance of education in setting a foundation for a brighter future. He discussed how New York City schools had failed many Black students in achieving appropriate reading comprehension skills by the third grade, which leads to further issues in their educational careers. 

Chancellor Banks also wants to focus on bringing real life experience to students so they can understand and appreciate the value of an education in preparing for their futures. Banks spoke with Rikers detainees to learn more about their relationship with school and education. Many said that as a kid they didn’t understand why they were at school beyond being required to be there and didn’t get anything out of it. But many said that hands-on experience like the HVAC instruction at Rikers was actually very engaging for them, and they wished their school experience had been more interactive and engaging. Chancellor Banks agrees that there is value in gaining hands-on experience, and invited businesses, legal, tech and other industries to create partnerships with the City to provide educational, internship and apprenticeship opportunities. Allowing kids to speak with people in a variety of careers and gain experience can spark inspiration in what they’d like to do with their future, and better appreciate how a good education can support those goals. 

Chancellor Banks responded to several questions. One question asked about chronic absenteeism during the pandemic. Banks responded that the City was preparing to announce a new plan to combat chronic absenteeism that would be announced in a week or so. He said a hands-on approach was required but there also needed to be an understanding that there are often deeper issues at play for kids who are chronically missing school beyond just wanting to skip. 

Chancellor Banks also answered several questions about programs to help students with hearing issues and other disabilities or chronic conditions. 

Chancellor Banks also discussed the agency’s budget, and how people often misunderstand how money has to be handled since certain expenses are required by law, which restricts the amount of money the Department of Education can put toward new initiatives or facilities. Banks said he’d like to take time to speak with the public about the budget to improve public understanding. 

Overall, Chancellor Banks shared a message about the importance of working with children to set them up on positive paths and more productive, brighter futures. Banks stated, “kids need their own ‘a-ha!’ moment” when they can figure out what interests and inspires them.

To watch the breakfast, click here or watch below.






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