Incoming NYC schools chancellor focused on COVID, making system work for all

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is the biggest school system in the country and it's more than a label, as a good education could make all the difference for 1.1 million public school students and their families.

The challenge is huge, and the student population is more than 65% Black and Brown.

Incoming Schools Chancellor David Banks, recently named by Mayor-elect Eric Adams, takes over in three weeks. And he has big plans.

Banks has been a top advisor to Adams for years, and as a guest on Up Close, he called the pandemic and giving parents hope that they can trust in the school system again his number one issue.

"You know, COVID took such a major toll on the psyche of not just not just the children, but the parents and the teachers and principals and everyone whose associated with our schools," he said. "And quite frankly, they're still suffering."

RELATED | NYC Mayor-elect Adams names David Banks as next schools chancellor
EMBED More News Videos

Kemberly Richardson has more on NYC Mayor-elect Eric Adams' first major appointee to his administration.


Adams was on the warpath Thursday, ripping schools because 65% of Black and Brown students are not considered proficient in English and math.

"And we act like that's normal, it's alright," he said. "Let me tell you something. If 65% of white children would not reach their proficiency in this city, they will burn this city down."

Banks said this has been a problem long before the pandemic.

"But what must change, and what was the challenge before COVID, was the fact that our school system has not worked for a lot of our children well before COVID ever happened," he said

Banks called for cutting bureaucracy in the Department of Education, and he's considering a longer school day, perhaps even Saturday. He also disagreed with the de Blasio decision to cut Gifted and Talented programs. He actually wants more.

"Why are Gifted and Talented programs are so limited, which cause everybody to fight for the few spaces that are available?" he said. "Why can't we increase more of those spaces?"

With his school chancellor chosen, Adams must now focused on the other big appointment -- the next police commissioner.

Sources say he's considering former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, whose department got caught up in the "defund police" movement. Her budget was slashed, and she resigned in protest.

The NYPD's Juanita Holmes is also being considered, but insiders believe Adams may prefer an outsider.

ALSO READ | Husband arrested, missing Long Island mother of 4 found stabbed 20 times
EMBED More News Videos

The body of a missing Centereach woman was found in Middle Island and now her husband is under arrest, Sonia Rincón reports.


Philadelphia's Danielle Outlaw is also a strong contender.

"It's quite flattering, quite frankly,' she said. "But I will tell you, I am still continuing to focus on my work here."

The transition from Bill de Blasio to Adams is already well underway, with just three weeks to go until Adams takes over on January 1.

----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.