“Mayor de Blasio has put forward several strong proposals for the future of our city’s public education system today. I am especially encouraged by his commitment to bring considerable resources to Community School District 7, which covers the South Bronx and has underperformed for decades, through his ‘Single Shepherd’ proposal. I am also happy to see a renewed commitment to STEAM education, and I fully support the mayor’s plan to provide computer science education to all students. I have long been a champion of increased STEAM options for our students, and this proposal is a step in the right direction.

“The mayor’s proposal to create partnerships between public schools and charter schools is also welcome. I have always been a supporter of such alliances, as they can not only help share best practices between schools for the betterment of our students, but can also help tone down the unhelpful rhetoric that often enters the conversation between public and charter schools.

“While I do believe that it is important to ensure our second graders are reading at grade level, we cannot ignore the fact that literacy is a crisis at all grade levels. Recent test scores showed that nearly 70 percent of City public elementary students are not performing at grade level in English. The results are especially troubling in Black and Latino communities, where more than 80 percent of those students are not performing at grade level in English. While I certainly appreciate a focus on our younger students, we cannot forget that students in all grades are in desperate need of similar assistance and resources, especially as we look towards increasing the high school graduation rate across this city.

“We must also support the expansion of gifted and talented programs in this city, as well as increased access to test prep programs for the Specialized High School Admissions Test. If we are committed to college preparedness, then we must do more to identify promising students in every community at earlier ages, and provide them with the resources they need to succeed.

“Perhaps our most important responsibility as elected officials is to ensure that our public education system is serving the children of this city. I look forward to working with Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Fariña to implement these proposals and to expand on the ideas discussed today,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.