Bronx and Westchester senator Alessandra Biaggi joined the body’s democratic majority in passing legislation aimed at diversifying New York education by means of attracting those who are underrepresented to become teachers, expanding religious holiday observances, implementing a study on ten SUNY schools, a review on slavery related curriculum among others initiatives.
“In order to support New York’s students, we must continue to tear down existing barriers in the classroom. It is critical that we provide the necessary attention and resources to ensure that our schools and the educator profession are inclusive and accessible, and reflect the diversity of New York’s student population,” Biaggi said.
This package of bills is to include: ‘Grow Your Own’ initiatives, which aims to to attract underrepresented candidates into the teaching profession; an expansion on observing religious holidays by mandating both CUNY and SUNY schools to “hold students harmless” for observance of religious and culturally significant days; along with senator Jamaal Bailey sponsored commission on affordable college education which would establish a study on ten SUNY schools who have not participated in the state’s Educational Opportunity Program.
These laws would also shift the creation transatlantic slave trade and American slavery curriculum from the Department of State to the NY Department of Education in efforts to “make recommendations for improvement.”
Currently, such lessons are made through the state department’s Amistad Commission.
The education reform package also urges the creation of an educator diversity task force in addition to the hosting of regional conventions for underrepresented educators.