Schools Chancellor David Banks outlined his vision for the nation’s largest school system, vowing to cut back on bureaucracy and deliver better results for kids.

“We spend $38 billion every year to get the outcomes that we get, where 65% of Black and Brown children never achieve proficiency. It’s a betrayal,” Banks said.

Banks — whose teleprompter malfunctioned, prompting a joke about where that $38 billion was going — said he’d take aim at the Education Department’s bureaucracy, starting with a position that, for some, has come to symbolize it.

What You Need To Know

  • Schools Chancellor David Banks vowed to cut bureaucracy in the school system

  • He's removing a layer of middle management from the department

  • And he outlined plans to improve literacy and make schools safer in his first major address

“I am eliminating the position of executive superintendents in the New York City public schools, and the reason I am doing that is we have not gotten the level of value added that is needed for our schools that is needed for having that position,” Banks said.

There are eight executive superintendents around the city, each with their own offices and staff. The position was a highly-paid layer of management between the DOE’s headquarters and the city’s 46 district superintendents. 

Banks said he’ll give more power to those 46 superintendents. 

“When principals and families go to the superintendent and the superintendent can’t give you an answer because they’ve got to go further up the chain of command, that’s not impactful, that doesn’t work,” he said.

Banks said he also wants to change the way schools teach reading, empower successful principals, and involve parents in policy decisions. Speaking with reporters after the speech, he outlined other plans, including the launch of a Virtual Academy next fall for children who want to learn remotely.

“There’s a small percentage of kids whose families have expressed great interest in doing that and we want to make that opportunity available to them,” Banks said.

With the number of weapons recovered in city schools on the rise, Banks said he also wants to increase the number of school safety agents, and explore new technology that could find weapons while being less invasive for students than current metal detectors.

And, citing the 120,000 students who have left the system over the last five years, he said he wants to better share the system's successes and expand programs like gifted and talented to more schools.

"We have to give parents a reason for wanting to be here and the parents who have chosen to leave are parents who have options, and those parents, if they don't see other opportunities made available to them in the system, that’s what they have been doing, they have been voting with their feet,” Banks said.