Public Education

Effective public education, in elementary, middle and high school, is essential to preparing our children for success. The schools of the 39th Council District have some of the city's best teachers, principals and parent leaders, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they are supported in the crucial work that they do.

John Jay High School, and some hard truths

The NYC Department of Education is proposing changes to the John Jay High School campus in Park Slope (which currently houses the Secondary Schools of Law, Journalism, and Research). DOE’s proposal is to bring in a new, fourth school – Millennium Brooklyn, a selective high school, with priority given to students who reside in Brooklyn, as well as an inclusion program for students with autism – and to phase out the middle school programs at the Secondary Schools of Law and Journalism (they would continue as high schools).

The proposed changes raise a series of challenging issues. I believe it is important to be honest about the hard truths of race, class, inequality, and education that the situation at John Jay highlights. My testimony tonight will seek to address these truths, and to make recommendations to the DOE.

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Councilmember Lander's Statement on John Jay HS

Brad Lander - Statement on John Jay HS Read more »

NYC Schools: Democratic Public Education, or Corporate Widget-Maker?

Huffington Post
11/11/2010

Mike Bloomberg's nomination of Cathie Black as schools chancellor is not only a bad personnel move. It is a symbol of a critical choice we are facing: Are our public schools a place to educate well−rounded citizens for the New York City of tomorrow? Or are they the junior academy of corporate America, oriented around test-taking and the bottom line? Read more »

School Food Rocked

Brad in lunch line

On Saturday, my office organized the School Food Rocks conference to bring together parents, educators, students, SchoolFood staff, and food activists to learn about how we can work together to achieve healthier and more sustainable school food throughout District 15.

The conference’s aim was to help schools get started or take next steps in improving their food programs, and to strengthen the network of parents and school leaders working on food issues. As I sat in on many of the workshops, on topics including starting a school garden, educating children and families in nutrition, recycling in the cafeteria, expanding access to healthy food in schools, and working with DOE SchoolFood on healthier options for students, I saw many wonderful presentations and a lot of intelligent and informed conversations. I was really happy to have the opportunity to be a part of this conference, and hope that it will get people energized to work to make school food healthier and more sustainable. I'm looking forward to working with school administrators, teachers, parents and activists to take next steps towards getting better food in the schools. Feel free to get in touch with Jessica Turner in my office at 718-499-1090 or JTurner [at] Council [dot] NYC [dot] gov if you would like to continue working with us on this issue. Read more »

Celebrating democracy with our newest 9th, 6th, and 1st graders!

Amidst the sometimes-frustrating scrum of City budget negotiations last week, I had a great counterweight: public school graduations ... My teary-eyed takeaway is this: public education is the crown jewel of local democracy.

DOE may leave students hungry

New York Daily News
06/24/2010

The Department of Education is ending its practice of giving every student a free lunch without their parents having to prove their need - and 35 borough schools are on the list. DOE will require parents to apply for free meals each year, instead of every four years, and only qualified students will get them. Opponents said DOE's plan would reduce the number of free meals provided to students who need them most. "Unfortunately, there are families who should apply for free lunches but don't do it," said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Red Hook). "This means that low income kids would go hungry." Read more »

PS 230 5th graders present a mural on child labor around the world

On Tuesday night, graduating 5th grade students from PS 230 in Kensington presented Councilmember Lander with a project they have been working on all year. It’s an 8 foot mural that raises awareness about social justice, access to education and child labor around the world.

As budgets are cut, advocates push for continued free lunch

GothamSchools
06/23/2010

New York City Council Members, along with food and public education advocates, called today for the restoration of proposed cuts to NYC’s School Food program, so that low-income kids don’t go hungry, and all kids have healthy choices. In particular, council members and advocates called for the restoration of $3 million to prevent the elimination of nearly 100 schools from the Universal School Meals program, which insures that all kids in predominantly low-income schools receive free lunches, and has been shown to improve health, nutrition, and academic achievement. “A strong public school food program - with universal free meals in low-income schools, and healthy food choices for all kids — is essential to keeping kids healthy and making sure they can learn,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “This is a small investment in our children’s future when considering the vast improvement in academic performance and overall well-being it promotes.” Read more »

Save free and healthy school lunches for thousands of kids!

The "Universal School Meals" program currently ensures that tens of thousands of school age kids do not go hungry during the school day. Under the program, participating schools are able to offer students a free lunch regardless of their income, residency, or citizenship status. This ensures that all needy kids receive access to healthy meals and reduces the amount of paperwork that burdens parents and administrators.

Please join me in asking Mayor Bloomberg to make sure that low-income kids are not left behind.

Write a Letter Calling for a Stronger, Better Child Nutrition Act

For over 40 years, the federal Child Nutrition Act has guided the way in which New York City and other municipalities around the country address hunger and childhood nutrition. This critical piece of legislation includes five major federal programs: school lunches, school breakfast, summer meals, child and adult care food, and the women with infant children (WIC) programs.

We have much to gain, or lose, as a result of changes to this legislation. The New York City Council is calling on Congress to make critical changes to the Child Nutrition Act. The Council believes, and we agree, that the changes to this law must support healthy meals for our children and high need adults.

Together, we can work together to get our elected officials to do good by our kids. Follow this link to send a letter to your Congressional representatives a letter calling for them to support a stronger, better Child Nutrition Act. Read more »