Platform to repair the systemic damage from COVID-19, tackle pre-existing inequities and apply a system-wide focus on diversity, integration and inclusion for all students and educators. 

Plan removes police officers from schools, hires new social workers and opens every public library 7 days a week.

Blueprint highlights pathways to economic opportunities including an Educational Recovery Corps to provide social-emotional support for students, while offering jobs to CUNY students and graduates.


NEW YORK____Former Obama-Biden Administration Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan released today his education platform, entitled A Million Strong: Repairing, Rebuilding, and Reimagining New York City Public Schools for ALL our Kids. The nearly 10,000-word in-depth plan provides innovative solutions and bold ideas that create equitable public schools in the largest public education system in the nation. The platform adds to Donovan’s recently unveiled bold policy ideas that have been recognized by national and local experts in various fields.

“COVID-19 exposed deep rooted injustices in our public school system and it also demonstrated the incredible resilience of our dedicated educators, students and families who continue to persevere during these tough unprecedented times, which is why as we recover from this pandemic, we must rebuild our educational system in order to tackle long-standing inequities and to create real pathways to economic opportunity for every student,” said NYC Mayoral Candidate Shaun Donovan. “This plan builds a seamless cradle to career continuum, celebrates diversity, creates safe and inclusive learning environments and prepares the next generation of New Yorkers for family-sustaining jobs.”

The policy ideas outlined in the nearly 10,000-word platform lay-out a vision for schools that cultivates and celebrates diversity and incorporates an equity lens to ensure that the benefits of new initiatives make their way to all students, particularly students who are from low-income households, students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, and students experiencing homelessness.

Highlights of the platform include:

  • Creating an Education Recovery Corps that utilizes the strength of our CUNY students and graduates, and other young people, to partner with educators to support the academic and social-emotional recovery of our elementary and secondary school students. The program will provide supplemental learning and social-emotional support for younger students, while offering immediate employment in their own communities for CUNY students and graduates, many of whom have faced economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.
  • Investing in a Student Success program that pairs public dollars with those raised from philanthropists and private sector partners with a shared interest in helping NYC’s students. This initiative would provide grants to schools, working with outside partners such as nonprofits or CUNY to accelerate learning for all students, with a focus on students who have been left furthest behind: students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, multilingual students, and students of color.
  • Hiring 150 new social workers to work in schools with large numbers of students in temporary housing and develop a multi-tiered support system in schools for foster, homeless and system-involved youth, in which schools and districts create problem-solving teams that use existing data to provide timely support and interventions for students’ academic, health, and social-emotional needs before they are in crisis.
  • Opening all libraries, in all neighborhoods, seven days a week.
  • Ensuring district policies and decisions are systematically informed by current educators, by launching a new competitive fellowship program recognizing a diverse group of innovative teachers, principals and counselors.
  • Leveraging NYC’s diversity as an asset for our students by increasing the diversity of the educator workforce, including through creating scaffolded pathways to teaching for high school and college students, particularly those interested in working in their own communities; and working with CUNY to expand the pipeline to train more diverse educators.
  • Establishing a School Diversity and Integration Office within the Department of Education to focus on both vision and execution of pro-integration policies and practices, investing in community-level integration plans, rethinking school admissions policies to eliminate policies that systemically disadvantaged students of color, and go farther to work hand in hand with communities to put in place affirmative, pro-equity, district-wide policies like weighted lotteries, and going beyond school-level demographics to ensure schools and classrooms are truly inclusive experiences.
  • Removing police from schools, starting with schools that employ multiple School Resource Officers and leveraging some of the savings to reinvest in Positivity, Prevention, Relationships, and Response Coordinators, trained in child development, de-escalation, and understanding how trauma and life experiences impact behavior, to create a positive learning environment.
  • Investing in our early childhood workforce through new pathways, increased salaries and training efforts.
  • Ensuring every high school student gets at least one paid, relevant work experience, internship or apprenticeship that puts them on a path to a family-sustaining career, including through doubling the size of the Summer Youth Employment Program over the next five years from 75,000 to 150,000 participants per year.

A Donovan administration would be laser-focused on recovering from COVID-19 and eliminating long standing barriers to student success while rebuilding trust with families, students and educators. The extensive education platform was lauded by educators and thought leaders in the field.

“For too long, generations of NYC students have faced tremendous equity barriers – from access to quality early childhood education, to integrated and inclusive K-12 classrooms, to pathways to CUNY and good jobs,” said John King, former NYS Education Commissioner and U.S. Secretary of Education. “These challenges have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Shaun’s plan rightly puts equity at the center, focusing on historically marginalized groups, like students experiencing homelessness, multilingual learners, and students with disabilities; and aiming to elevate educator voice, and rebuild their trust in the system. It includes a comprehensive, concrete, and thoughtful approach to finally integrate NYC’s schools and classrooms, which are amongst the most segregated in the nation. Shaun’s vision and leadership can help NYC schools, students, families, and educators rebuild in a more equitable way – and this plan shows how this can be achieved.”

“Shaun’s plan reflects the leadership I saw from him in Washington: bold vision, smart ideas, and a focus on following through for the most vulnerable populations,” said Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education. “Like children around the nation, NYC’s children are facing an unprecedented crisis, and it will take creative ideas, and a willingness to make hard decisions and challenge folks across the public and private sectors to not just help students and educators recover, but tackle the inequities, achievement gaps and segregation that have festered for years. This plan does that. From expanding support for students experiencing homelessness, to ensuring a more diverse educator workforce and more high-quality, inclusive educational experiences for all, to expanding college and career pathways for all high school students and building on CUNY’s success, this plan is a bold and comprehensive roadmap for NYC’s students and educators.”

“It’s important that NYC act to integrate schools but do so in a way that really puts educators at the table, and supports them through this work,” said Alicia Perez-Katz, Educator, US Dept of Education Principal Ambassador Fellow, 2015. “As an educator, parent and former Principal Ambassador Fellow at the US Department of Education, I believe we need bold ideas and concrete action to integrate our middle and high schools, as this plan proposes. I also believe from my experience that we must bring in Educator Fellows from diverse backgrounds and schools to shape policy in a meaningful, ongoing way.”

“Shaun Donovan’s education plan represents the most comprehensive set of policies proposed to date by any candidate in the race to address the issue of segregation in New York City, linking common sense policies such as revamping admissions processes with innovative ideas around expanding seats in diverse, high-quality settings,” said Stefan Lallinger, former Special Assistant to the NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “It also attends to the all-important issues of teacher representation, community input, and resource allocation that are so often left out of the integration conversation. The boldness, breadth, and practicability of this plan to promote integration all receive high marks in my book.”

“Shaun Donovan’s education agenda is designed to open doors to meaningful economic opportunity for NYC’s students, and makes it clear that this mission begins at birth and doesn’t stop until every student is launched on the career path of their choice,” said Amy McIntosh, former Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Strategy at CUNY. “Besides scaling up proven academic and support programs in the DOE and CUNY, he will make sure that high school and college students have many more ways to learn about and participate in the world of work, so they can choose and prepare for the pathway of their choice.”

A lifelong New Yorker, Donovan is a proven leader and manager. He served all 8 years as a member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, first as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary and then as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, where he successfully managed the four-trillion-dollar federal budget. He developed a close partnership with President Obama and was trusted by him and Vice President Joe Biden to take on some of the biggest challenges facing our country including ending veteran homelessness in 80 cities, leading the Hurricane Sandy recovery Task Force and bringing relief to families during the Great Recession.


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