Chancellor Banks. Illustration: Ben Sweeney

Earlier this month we covered Banks’ vision for NYC public schools via four pillars: 

  1. Re-imagining the student experience
  2. Scaling, sustaining, and restoring what works
  3. Prioritizing wellness 
  4. Partnership with parents

As part of his second pillar, Banks focused on empowering principals who, “get work done not because of the DOE, but in spite of the DOE.” This concept is not new, and Banks has already been in touch with former deputy chancellor Eric Nadelstern, who was part of the experiment to empower principals under the Bloomberg administration. 

Under Bloomberg, principals were given, “new, wide latitude over budgeting, curriculum, and hiring,” according to Chalkbeat. Principals signed contracts that held them to strict accountability standards that were measured via test results. Principals could receive bonuses for their successes, but could also face school closures. The downside of this model was the over reliance on tests. However, once this model changed under the administration of former Mayor Bill de Blasio, principals were then bogged down with paperwork, micromanagement, and the bureaucracy of the DOE.

Banks has not gone into much detail about how he plans to execute his vision, but has shared that it will be different than the previous model—autonomy will not be handed out freely, and will be given to select principals. He also wants superintendents to play a more supportive role to principals. 

Nicole Perrino is the founder of, a hyperlocal website for Bronx families where she use her influence to celebrate the beauty that the Bronx has to offer. In addition to her role at Bronxmama,...

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