New York City spends over $25 billion per year on education, amounting to nearly $19,000 per pupil, the most in the nation. However, studies show that only 37% of students that graduate from our City schools are actually prepared for college.
In truth, New York City has had a dysfunctional school system for generations. This is unacceptable from a moral perspective but is particularly outrageous given the exorbitant amounts of money that we are pouring into the very schools that are failing our children. We should not use technology as a crutch in our schools, but rather, find innovative ways to use technology to impart to our children the critical thinking skills that they need.
We must also restore our fine arts programs in our schools. New York City is one of the cultural capitals of the world, with its wide offerings in music, opera, dance, and on Broadway. Despite our cultural status, our leaders have gutted our fine arts programs in our public schools for decades. We should fund at least two fine-arts teachers in every school. Orchestras, bands, music, dance, and the arts must play a vital part in our schools.
More innovation in our public schools is also important. We must support our charter schools, which offer new and unique ideas in teaching critical thinking skills to students of all backgrounds. Dao is particularly passionate about supporting charter schools that focus on helping the underprivileged and underserved among us. Charter schools have a critical need for more funding and space in Queens, and Dao will work to get innovative charter schools the resources and space that they need.
Despite the widespread failures of our school system, one area of strength are our specialized schools. We must preserve the SHSAT, the test that determines which students are admitted to the specialized high schools in New York City. The SHSAT provides a fair way to provide high quality education to those who can benefit from it the most. In addition, this admissions process gives opportunities to low- and middle-income students throughout the City that they would not otherwise have.
As the father of two children, Dao knows about the importance of education, and he will be fighting to improve the lives of all children in Queens.