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.

This Tuesday: Help break down a divide (and watch some great student videos at John Jay HS Campus)

John Jay Video Showcase 4-29

Although it’s located right in the middle of Park Slope, there has too long been a divide between the public schools in the John Jay Educational Campus and the surrounding community.

Next Tuesday, we’ve got a chance to help break down that divide. Read more »

The real champions of change

I’m honored to be in Washington DC today to receive a “Champions of Change” award from the White House for work (along with Alderman Joe Moore from Chicago, and Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito from East Harlem) on participatory budgeting.

I’m excited to meet and learn from other elected officials, not-for-profit leaders, and community organizers who are pioneering new forms of civic engagement and open government (like Jessica Klein, co-founder of Rockaway Help, which created new technology tools to enable people to collaborate for disaster relief). 

But there is something not-quite-right about getting an award for something as inclusive as participatory budgeting (which The New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action”). The whole idea of participatory budgeting is to see elected office not as a vehicle for one person’s leadership, but as a way to bring people together to take shared responsibility.  The best part of participatory budgeting is how people step up together to act as stewards of the shared public realm – our schools, parks, public transportation, streets, libraries – that makes our life together possible, and sometimes even ennobling. Read more »

Petraeus’s Pay for Part-Time CUNY Job, Criticized at $200,000, Drops to $1

NY Times
07/15/2013

It was supposed to be a feather in the cap for the City University of New York’s ambitious honors college. Or perhaps a careful first step back into public life for a leader sidelined by scandal.

One way or another, the news that David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director and commander of the allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be a visiting professor at the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY this coming academic year was supposed to be great publicity all around. Read more »

David Petraeus, a man used to hostile welcomes, gets another one from NYC

am New York
07/09/2013

To sign the petition calling on CUNY to rescind the $150,000 offer to David Petraeus, click here.

A firestorm of protest has erupted at disgraced ex-CIA head David Petraeus’ $150,000 paycheck to teach a three-hour class once a week for two semesters with help of graduate students. Tuesday, The union representing CUNY faculty and staff Tuesday sent out a statement in protest of Petraeus’ salary, which was first reported by Gawker. Read more »

Our City's budget, and our values

Last week was a busy one at City Hall. We passed two important police reform bills (more on those here), overrode the mayor’s veto of legislation that will guarantee paid sick days for a million more New York workers, and we passed the City’s FY2014 budget, for the fiscal year that begins today (for good measure, we also passed a bill to “save brunch,” which had apparently become threatened due to an outdated law).

In budget negotiations, we were able restore the essential public services proposed for cuts by Mayor Bloomberg. Libraries will keep their full hours. Low-income families will keep their childcare. Our neighborhood firehouses, parks, and pools will remain open. You can access all the details of the City’s FY2014 budget here, and on those areas where the Council focused on restorations and additions here. Read more »

The power of our students’ imagination

With the end of each school year, I am moved by what extraordinary places our public schools are.  To me, there is no better celebration of democracy than a fifth grade graduation: rooted in the idea that every single student has the potential to achieve their goals and has the right to get a real opportunity to try, that equality and diversity matter, and that we get there by organizing ourselves together, in shared, common, public schools. Read more »

DOE to replace PS 146 lights to prevent PCB exposure

Thanks to the activism of parents, New York Communities for Change, and elected officials, DOE has agreed to replace the light fixtures at the Brooklyn New School (PS 146) and MS 448. 

After leaks were discovered in the school's light fixtures last year, parents rallied to have the fixtures replaced. Light fixtures installed decades ago can leak toxic PCBs, a health risk for students. Read more »

And the winning projects are...

What a weekend!

Yesterday, we wrapped up our second Participatory Budgeting vote - the culmination of a process that empowers New Yorkers to decide how tax dollars are spent on projects in their neighborhoods. Read more »

Unveiling the PB ballot

Which projects will get your vote? The 2013 Participatory Budgeting ballot is here, with great projects that will invest in building a better neighborhood for us to share.

And next week, we will be kicking off the Participatory Budgeting Vote, with early voting Tuesday through Thursday and voting locations in your neighborhood on Saturday and Sunday (April 6th and 7th). The projects that get the most votes will be funded in this year’s City budget. Read more »

New Computers and Pedestrian Safety on Carroll Gardens Budget List

DNA Info
03/21/2013

COBBLE HILL AND CARROLL GARDENS — Renovated school bathrooms and new computers at Carroll Gardens Library  are some of the projects that could become a reality through City Councilman Brad Lander’s participatory budget program.

The program allows the community decide how to spend $1 million of Lander’s discretionary budget for public improvements.

Last fall, the several local committees brainstormed over ideas and narrowed them down based on use, feasibility and expense, since each project has a $500,000 limit. Read more »