NYS tests start tomorrow – what you need to know

Tomorrow, students in our public schools will begin taking the New York State tests, with English Language Arts (ELA) this week, and Math next week.

As the father of two public school students, I know that our kids deal differently with testing, and that it can be a very stressful experience for some of them.

Thanks to strong advocacy, we are making progress in the effort to reduce the over-reliance on high-stakes testing, and the negative consequences it has – not only stressed-out kids, but “teaching to the test,” incidences of cheating, erratic teacher evaluations, and a loss of time and focus on arts and music and creativity and teamwork.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a real shift in attitudes. We elected a Mayor committed to more holistic education. He and Chancellor Fariña replaced the single, mostly test-based letter-grade that schools used to receive, with the “Framework for Great Schools” – that considers trust, supportive environment, community-family ties, and other non-traditional metrics (if you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to look at your school’s Quality Report under the new framework). DOE has also reduced the use of State tests for grade promotion decisions in favor of an approach using multiple measures and professional judgment. Read more »

This weekend: Your final chance to vote in PBNYC

This weekend is your final chance to vote in Participatory Budgeting (PBNYC)! It really is not complete without your vote.

If you haven’t voted already, I hope you'll visit one of the locations below, on Saturday and Sunday from 10-6 to cast your vote. Remember that any resident of Council District 39, age 14 or older, can vote in PBNYC (you don’t need to be registered to vote in regular elections).

If you've already voted, forward this e-mail to a few friends ... we'd love to get as many people as we possibly can out to vote this weekend.

Poll Sites for Saturday, April 2, 10 am - 6 pm

Carroll Gardens Library
396 Clinton St at Union St
The Old Stone House at Washington Park
Between 3rd and 4th St. and 4th and 5th Ave.
Windsor Terrace Library
160 East 5th St at Ft. Hamilton Pkwy

We will also have a mobile poll-site set up in Prospect Park, at the end of the little league baseball opening day parade, on the Long Meadow Ballfields (near Field 1, where the Opening Pitch ceremony will be taking place), from 10:30 – 12 noon.

Poll Sites for Sunday, April 3, 10 am -6 PM

Carroll Park House
Smith St between President and Carroll Streets

Park Slope Armory
361 15th St between 7th and 8th Ave

PS 230 Upper School
1 Albemarle Rd at McDonald Ave

Help the NYPD identify this attacker of seniors

The suspect who police believe robbed a 91 year old Park Slope woman at gunpoint in March has been linked to four other recent attacks involving elderly women in their 70’s and 80’s from Kensington, Prospect Heights, Park Slope and Ridgewood, Queens. The most recent attack happened Saturday afternoon near the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Beverly Road in Kensington, and involved an 83 year old woman. Together the 66th Precinct and 78th Precinct are asking for help identifying the man pictured in this wanted poster

Anyone with information should call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). You can also submit your tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential. Read more »

Some new candidates on the (PBNYC) ballot!

PBNYC Vote Week is underway – and there are some new candidates on the ballot!

For the first time ever, we’ll be offering a brand new voting opportunity. In addition to voting on how to spend $1.5 million on the “capital projects ballot” (with 13 great projects like those from prior years), you’ll also get to vote on how to spend $50,000 on our brand new “program ballot.” 

Every year, during the PBNYC brainstorming phase, we hear many great ideas that don’t meet the criteria for “city capital” funding, which has to be for “bricks-and-mortar” projects.

So this year, we are offering an entire second ballot of projects that qualify for city “programmatic” funding that lets us really take advantage of all the creativity we see in PBNYC.  I’m proud to say we are the only district in NYC piloting this new opportunity. Read more »

Reviving a New York City Tradition of Defending Human Rights

Originally published in NY Slant

By Council Members Brad Lander and Darlene Mealy

As the Broadway hit “Hamilton” is teaching a new generation, New York City is built on a long and storied history of providing a home for people of every class, color, creed and identity. We’ve long been known as a tolerant and welcoming place for all and a leader in advancing human rights.

But we also know that New York City can only achieve its promise when all of us – regardless of our background – have full and equal ability to achieve our potential.

Unfortunately, for most of the past two decades, the city’s Commission on Human Rights withered in its capacity to enforce the protections afforded by the Human Rights Law. Mayor Rudy Giuliani decimated the commission (which in 1991, under Mayor David Dinkins, had a staff of 241 and a budget of $9.5 million) shrinking it to just seven investigators and four attorneys by 2001. Mayor Michael Bloomberg made modest restorations, but still left the agency with a staff of just 66, with the city putting in just $1.1 million, 80 percent less than two decades earlier. The time it took to resolve a case grew longer every single year of the Bloomberg Administration. Read more »

Here’s why #IVotePBNYC. How about you?

It’s just one week until the start of our 5th annual participatory budgeting (PBNYC) vote week, when you and your neighbors get to vote on some great projects in our neighborhoods. Please take a minute this weekend to decide where and when to vote, review the projects on the ballot, and pledge to vote.

We’re already seeing a lot of strong PBNYC spirit across the district, and looking forward to seeing more! Already hundreds of you have pledged to vote this year, and our volunteers are hitting the streets this weekend to help get the word out. Here’s some of what’s been happening as we get closer to the vote: Read more »

Help our very own Vision Zero teen champion!

Just over a year ago, one very impressive Park Slope teenager, Alison Collard de Beaufort, (an MS 51 alum and current Brooklyn Tech student) made headlines by helping to launch the Vision Zero Youth Council -- a group of young people, tired of seeing their fellow students killed in traffic crashes, who are pushing for better pedestrian safety across the city. Read more »

Join me to help CHiPS provide food & shelter for our neighbors!

Many of you are already familiar with CHiPS (Community Help in Park Slope) from volunteering to cook or serve a meal at their soup kitchen. If not, here’s your chance to learn more. Either way, I hope you’ll join me in supporting them today – by buying tickets to their first annual gala on April 6th  or by making a direct contribution! Read more »

PBNYC 2016 Ballot is here: What will you choose?

You’re going to get a lot of chances to vote this year – the Presidential primary in April, the State legislative primary in September, and the General Election in November.

But only one ballot contains 13 fantastic local projects to improve our schools, parks, libraries, streets and transit: the PBNYC 2016 ballot for our district is here, and its time to get ready to vote on how you want to spend $1.5 million. Read more »

Op-Ed: Pay freelancers — or pay a legal price

By Brad Lander and Sara Horowitz

Originally published in NY Daily News 

For freelance theater technician Lily Meyer, the hardest part of her job isn’t the long hours or demanding work environment. The hardest part is getting paid.

As she found out after a client failed to pay her for $10,000 of work she’d already done, there is little recourse for independent workers when they’ve been stiffed. Read more »

Sign up for updates!

Follow Me on Social Media