www.nyckidspac.org

1275 First Ave Suite 225

New York NY 10065

info@nyckidspac.org 

(518) 712-9466

Candidate Survey

Please return by August 15, 2017 to info@nyckidspac.org

Candidate full name

Kevin Peter Carroll

Website

https://www.kevinpetercarroll.com/

Staff contact and e-mail

Kevin Peter Carroll, kevinpeter86@gmail.com

Phone number

(718) 213-2667

Running for what office

City Council, District 43

 

 Governance

Many New York City parents feel disenfranchised by the current system of mayoral control over public education and feel there are insufficient checks and balances. About two thirds of voters agree, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.  Would you support changes to the system to give parents more voice in decision-making and/or provide checks and balances to the current system?

Which of the following changes to what is now called the Panel for Education Policy (the de facto Board of Education) would you support?   Please check as many as you like.

Yes

No

  • A directly elected Board of Education

x

  • A reconstituted Board of Education with a majority not appointed by the Mayor

x

  • Community Education Councils (CECs) selecting parent representatives to the Board of Education

x

  • Board of Education members with set terms, who cannot be fired at will by the mayor

x

  • The City Council having checks and balances over DOE policies as they do with other city agencies (municipal control)

x

Which of the following measures to ensure that parents and community members have a voice in their children’s schools would you support? Check as many as you like.

Yes

No

  • Expanding the powers of Community Education Councils, including the approval over school closings and co-locations

x

  • Restoring the authority of School Leadership Teams (SLTs) to develop school based budgets

x

  • Allowing school based committees or SLTs to select principals

x

  • Supporting the hiring of a DOE Ombudsperson to investigate and settle parent complaints

x

Do you have other proposals to provide a stronger parent voice and/or checks and balances in school governance?

I would work to amend the City Charter to make all Department-Level Commissioner appointments be subject to the advice and consent of the City Council. Additionally, I would work with my partners in Albany to change the governance and appointment style of the Panel for Education Policy so that parents have seats at the table and that the Mayor does not have full control.

Testing

Another important issue is standardized testing, test prep, and the use of test scores to evaluate schools, students, and teachers. What is your position on this matter? 

Would you support:

Yes

No

  • A teacher evaluation system not linked to test scores

x

  • Requiring that the Chancellor communicate to parents that they have a right to opt their children out of standardized testing without penalties to the students or their schools

x

  • Making admissions to all public schools based on more than test scores, including Gifted programs and the specialized high schools

x

Resources and equity

NYC schools have never received their fair share of funding from the state and many are still struggling with budgets below their Fair Student funding levels, despite surpluses at the state and city levels.  Class sizes have risen sharply, particularly in the early grades, where they remain at among the highest levels in more than 15 years.  At the same time, the NYC Chancellor has said that her main concern is that class sizes can be too small. A legal complaint has now been filed against the DOE with the state about its failure to reduce class size and comply with the Contracts for Excellence law. How would you go about guaranteeing the rights of all students and providing them with an equitable opportunity to learn?

More specifically would you:

Yes

No

  • Support full funding of schools at originally agreed upon CFE levels

x

  • Ensure that DOE comply with its original Contracts for Excellence class size reduction plan, to reduce class size in all grades

x

  • Require that NYC reduce class size, particularly in struggling schools

x

  • Support the creation of an office dedicated to school integration with a Deputy Chancellor whose sole responsibility is school desegregation and integration

x

  • Re-evaluate the school budgeting process, including Fair Student Funding formula, so that resources are distributed equitably and sufficiently among our schools

x

How would you ensure that children are provided with a well-rounded education, including art, music, science, and physical education, and how would you fund this?

I would look to find local non-profit and community groups which could connect with nearby schools for such programs if there isn’t the space, funding, or staffing for them.

How would you go about developing and supporting measures to attract and retain experienced and high-quality teachers?

President Trump has proposed cutting the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program; if that happens, we will need to work with our partners in Albany to make up the difference so we can tell aspiring teachers that they will not need to worry about the burden of student loans. Additionally, I will liaise with teachers and the  Board of Regents to see which parts of the teacher certification process are unnecessarily burdensome.

How would you ensure equitable distribution of resources so that every school has what it needs to provide a high quality education to all its students?

I would simply ask each school principal to give an itemized list of expenditures for the school, sorted by need, and then connect with the City Department of Education to see which items can be paid for that year and slowly whittle-down the list. At the same time, I would prioritize funding for projects in schools in my district in my allotment of member items each year.

NYC is one of the most segregated school systems in the nation.  What are your plans for integrating our schools? Please be specific.

Much of the school segregation dates back to how many students go to schools in the neighborhood. The only way, then, is to integrate neighborhoods by offering more affordable housing and standing up to opponents of natural gentrification.

DOE data reveal that more than 40 percent of special needs students in NYC are not receiving their full services or only partially receiving their mandated services or appropriate classroom placements.

How would you ensure that all students with disabilities receive their services more promptly?

I would work to better inform parents of students with disabilities that all students are entitled, by law, to a sound education and connect them with the resources their students could use and, if they are not given a prompt response, connect them with the Office of the Public Advocate.

 

Any other comments on resources and/or equity?

School facilities

Overcrowding is a chronic and ever-worsening problem in NYC schools.  The city has underinvested in school facilities, resulting in most students attending schools in overcrowded and/or substandard conditions.  Expanded Pre-K, eliminating trailers, reducing class size, and implementing community schools with wrap-around services all require even more space. The Mayor’s plan to create hundreds of thousands of new market-rate and affordable housing will likely contribute to even more overcrowding. And yet the current capital plan does not have enough new seats to keep up with future enrollment growth, not to mention reducing class size according to DOE’s own estimates.  

 

Do you support any of the following measures?  Please check all that apply.

Yes

No

  • Mandate that the city annually release transparent needs assessments for new school capacity that take into account current overcrowding, loss of seats through TCU removal and lapsed leases, and enrollment projections

x

  • Require that developers provide space for schools in overcrowded areas or pay “impact” fees into a fund for school construction.

x

  • Reform the zoning laws so that schools must be built along with new housing.

x

  • Fully fund the capital plan so that all the projected need for seats is funded

x

Do you have any other proposals to address school overcrowding?

We should look for undeveloped city-owned land where we could build new schools. Additionally, we should continue to expand usage of churches and other community centers for school space, like has been done to implement the Pre-K for All initiative.

Charter Schools and Privatization

Charter schools are growing fast and now take more than $1 billion from the DOE’s budget and an increasing amount of space in our schools. There are also serious questions about whether they are complying with the law when it comes to providing due process for suspensions and students with disabilities, and enrolling and retaining equal numbers of high needs students.  

Would you:

Yes

No

  • Support the continued expansion of charter schools

x

  • Advocate for repealing the law requiring that NYC pay for charter school facilities or provide them with space inside DOE buildings

x

  • Enforce the provisions in the 2010 charter law that before charters are renewed or allowed to replicate, they must show they’ve enrolled equal numbers of high needs students, i.e. ELLs, SWDs and free lunch students

x

  • Support measures that require that the State Education Department and/or SUNY post statistics on every charter school’s suspension, enrollment and attrition rates, including for students in each of the high-needs categories

x

  • Support measures that require that charter schools be more transparent and post their board meeting times, board minutes, budgets etc.  

x

  • Oppose the Education Investment Tax Credit bill, which would award tax credits to wealthy donors who give to private and parochial schools  

x

There is also growing concern about the lack of transparency and number of contracts provided to for-profit vendors, and contracts awarded vendors with a history of corruption, abuse and/or mismanagement.

 

Would you:

Yes

No

  • Have the NYC Comptroller or his staff provide comments on contracts before they are approved by the PEP

x

  • Require more transparency for each proposed contract including the release of detailed information about each at least a month before the vote of the PEP

x

Any other comments on charters and/or privatization?

As a proud product of public education -from elementary school through college- I am committed to making sure our students have access to excellent education.

Open-ended questions 

Please summarize your record in public education as an individual, advocate or policymaker.

As a staunch advocate for public education, I have stood side by side with parents, professionals, and, most importantly, the children of our public school system.

Please describe the ways in which you have demonstrated responsiveness to parental or community concerns

With my work for Council Member Stephen Levin, I put together the PS 133 Task Force. This was in response to concerns from the community and parents about PS 133. It was a very successful way to engage the community and once elected I intend to do the same across the 43rd Council District.  

What would be your top educational priorities if elected?

Reform the governance system of our schools so that the Mayor does not have full control and continue to make sure our schools are adequately funded.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I will use the bully pulpit of my office as a councilmember to oppose the ability of charter schools to develop their own teacher certification standards, as has been proposed by the SUNY Charter Schools Institute.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions.