4:25 p.m. | Jan. 22, 2014
Daniel Dromm's immediate priorities as the City Council's newly appointed education committee chair reflect the tone of the de Blasio administration: More pre-K, less testing, and a focus on progressive education.
In an interview with Capital on Wednesday afternoon after his appointment, Dromm, a close ally of Melissa Mark-Viverito and a longtime opponent of the Bloomberg administration's education policies, said his philosophy aligns with school chancellor Carmen Fariña's in part because they are both longtime educators.
"During the Bloomberg administration we lost the emphasis on dealing with the whole child, the child being more than just test scores," he said.
Dromm, a member of the Council representing Jackson Heights and Elmhurst since 2009, was a longtime teacher and day care center director.
His appointment was widely expected; last week, before he was appointed, Dromm invited his colleagues in the Council to a hearing on the priorities of education activists opposed to Bloomberg's policies.
Dromm said he will push for a reduced emphasis on testing, improved teacher morale, and reduced class size, among other issues, that drew daylight between his educational philosophy and that of the previous administration's.
Dromm said a focus on the whole child will also require more art, music, physical education and foreign language instruction and options in school, and said that as a teacher he taught social studies by taking his students on relevant field trips and incorporating literature and cultural instruction to enrich curriculum.
Compared to the sports and arts instruction wealthy students in New York's suburbs get, New York City students still lack options, Dromm said. "To me, that is the piece that is missing in the D.O.E.," he said. "It was cut out during the Bloomberg administration because of an emphasis on testing." He added that be believes test scores in general are "valid and important" but are only one part of a student's performance.
Fariña has also emphasized the importance of holistic social studies instruction and, in her limited public comments thus far as chancellor, Fariña has repeatedly said she wants to bring "joy back" to classrooms, an indirect criticism of the previous administration, which had a renewed focus on data accountability, and standardized testing, which Dromm has tacked onto.
Dromm also said he'll focus on "ensuring teachers have a role in the decision making process"; a hallmark of the Bloomberg administration's education agenda was handing a great deal of responsibility over to principals.
Dromm has distinguished himself from his peers by focusing on the need to support and protect LGBTQ students in the city's schools, particularly in high schools.
Dromm, who came out as gay while he was a teacher, said he gets calls from students every day complaining about anti-LGBTQ language in schools.
He said making "high schools a safe environment for all students," not just LGBTQ students, is an immediate priority of his.
Last week, before he was appointed, Dromm convened a group of his colleagues in the Council and education activists to listen to priorities of his fellow councilmembers.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Danny Dromm Gives Us All a Voice
Can the ed deform world be coming apart any faster? I just loved this piece from Eliza Shapiro at Capital.