Award-winning Educator Brings Classroom Experience to City Hall
NEW YORK, NY (TIP): Council Member Daniel Dromm was elected as the NYC Council’s Education Committee chairperson at a meeting in City Hall on January 22. Daniel has a long career as a former New York City public school teacher and child day care center director prior to being elected to the Council. “I want to thank Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and my colleagues in the Council for this honor’, said Daniel.
He said he had identified several areas of focus for this legislative session:
- Providing universal prekindergarten to all New York City children
- Improving teacher morale and ensuring teachers and parents have a role in the decision making process
- Reducing class size in all grades
- Child-centered curriculum, with reduced emphasis on testing, and expand whole-child efforts (including art, physical education, music, foreign language)
- Establishing a safe and supportive environment for all students but especially for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students
Daniel graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie in 1977 with a degree in Spanish Language Studies and Communications. He originally wanted to be a Spanish teacher but was convinced by his mother, Audrey Gallagher, a long time elementary school teacher, to apply for a position at the Grant Day Care Center in Harlem. While there, he earned his master’s degree in education from City College and in 1984 accepted a position with the old NYC Board of Education as a fourth grade teacher at PS199Q in Sunnyside, Queens where he stayed for 25 years.
In 1992, he came out as an openly gay teacher in response to my local school board’s (District 24) opposition to the inclusive “Children of the Rainbow” curriculum that sought to teach tolerance of all of New York’s diverse communities including lesbian and gay families. The curriculum, which contained three pages of optional material regarding the teaching of tolerance of LGBT families, was opposed by the religious right. The curriculum was written as part of an overall approach to ending hate crimes against African Americans, Latinos, gays and other minorities. Having known of the connection between politics and education, he resolved to change the devastatingly homophobic environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and teachers in the New York City public schools.
At first, it required organizing the Queens LGBT communities by founding the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival. He went on to help found most of the existing LGBT organizations, such as Generation Q and SAGE Queens, in the borough. To develop political power within the community he also spearheaded the creation of the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens. In 2009, he was elected as the NYC Council Member for the 25th District. He was appointed to the Education Committee and has been an active member ever since. In 2013, he ran unopposed for re-election. Daniel Dromm says, “I am proud to have been elected by my peers to this position and look forward to working with schools in my district and citywide to improve education”.