New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams has announced David Banks as NYC public schools chancellor. This change will take effect when Adams takes office in January. Banks is president and CEO of the Eagle Academy, a network of public schools for boys in NYC and Newark, NJ. Adams named the longtime educator as chancellor last Thursday, Dec. 9, at a press conference held outside P.S. 161 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Banks is the first commissioner Adams named to his administration.
At the press conference, both Adams and Banks alluded to problems existing within the city's schools. “We have denied people the right to be educated in this city, and some people just don't get it. But I get it,” Adams said. “I went on an endless journey of interviewing the person to be the chancellor for eight years. I didn't have to do a national search and find someone that doesn't understand our city. I didn't have to do that.”
Changes Coming to NYC's Public Schools
The incoming schools chancellor has been critical about the state of the current city public school system, hinting that changes will be on the way. Banks added that improvements to the city start by making improvements to the education system.
“You can not change New York City without changing the state of education in this city,” Banks said. “Let me tell you what I know. I know that every young person who attends our schools across the city is filled with brilliance, potential promise, and gifts. I also know that they exist in a school system that is fundamentally flawed.”
The chancellor-to-be also discussed the importance of parental and community feedback when it comes to making big decisions within the education system. This is something the current administration has been criticized for not doing.
“You will never see the mayor-elect once he’s the mayor or myself as the chancellor announce any major policy initiatives for our schools unless we are surrounded by parents and families who have co-signed what we are doing,” Banks said.
Banks and Adams have yet to announce their plans, how they'll address current problems within the school system, or if they'll keep initiatives set in place by Mayor Bill de Blasio, such as the elimination of gifted and talented programs in schools.
In response to the Banks' announcement, United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew issued a statement. “David Banks is an educator who cares deeply about children. We have worked well with David in the past, and we look forward to continuing that relationship as he takes on the challenge of running 1,600 schools still suffering from the effects of the pandemic.”
Who is David Banks, NYC's new public schools chancellor?
David Banks is president and CEO of the Eagle Academy Foundation and the founding principal of the Eagle Academy for Young Men. His visionary approach to education emphasizes partnerships between schools and communities. Here are some of this achievements, milestones, and recognitions:
- In partnership with Scholastic Inc., Banks helped curate the Rising Voices Library, a collection of nonfiction and other books celebrating Blank and Latino boys.
- He’s the author of SOAR: How Boys Learn, Succeed and Develop Character
- Banks was a member of the mayor’s task force to reopen schools in 2020
- He was co-chair of the New York City Young Men’s Initiative in 2010
- Banks was a founding board member of the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color from 2008-2012
- He made the Crain’s List of Notable Black Executives in 2021
Banks is a graduate of Rutgers University and holds a Juris Doctorate from St. John's University School of Law. He will take over as NYC Schools Chancellor after Eric Adams is sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1, 2022.