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.

Details on proposed DOE school re-zonings for Park Slope

On Wednesday night, the NYC Department of Education presented their plan for school re-zonings affecting PS 321 and PS 107, and small parts of PS 39 and PS 10 (first covered by DNAinfo earlier this week). Read more »

Proposed DOE school rezonings for Park Slope

As you may have seen, recent articles in DNAinfo and the New York Times cover the NYC Department of Education’s plan for school re-zonings affecting PS 321 and PS 107, and small parts PS 39 and PS 10, four fantastic schools that I’m honored to represent. Read more »

School Officials, DOE Embroiled in Affirmative Action Fight at P.S. 133

DNAinfo
10/15/2012

Southwest Brooklyn parents, school officials and City Council members have joined forces in a fight with the city's Department of Education over a proposed "affirmative action" admissions policy at a local elementary school that could affect nearly 1,000 students in Park Slope, Sunset Park and other nearby neighborhoods. Read more »

Self-government's appeal

Brooklyn Daily Eagle
10/03/2012

So who knows our neighborhood needs better than we do? A rhetorical question, of course, but one that gets at the heart of a City Council initiative called Participatory Budgeting.

In 2011-2012, Brad Lander was one of four NYC Councilmembers leading their districts in a program first hatched in Brazil and launched in this country in Chicago. The success of the actions taken in NYC’s four forward-thinking districts led to the program’s doubling—eight councilmembers, representing over one million New Yorkers, have dedicated a total of at least $10 million in NYC discretionary capital funds for the 2012-2013 program. It is we, the constituents, who decide how the money is spent. Read more »

Participatory Budgeting is Back

One year ago, we started an experiment: to give New Yorkers the power to decide how to spend $1 million of their tax dollars on projects in the neighborhood.

That experiment, Participatory Budgeting, was a huge success. Over 3,000 people participated, we received nearly a thousand ideas for projects in the community, and our small voting sites were overwhelmed with eager residents wanting to be part of what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action.” The seven projects with the most votes – projects for local schools, libraries, parks, and streets – received City funding and are moving forward.

Now we are starting again, with another $1 million and your great ideas. Read more »

Back to (Our) Schools

This morning, over 1 million kids (including my two) head back to New York City’s public schools.

Despite the often-contentious rhetoric surrounding education policy these days, our public schools for me remain the shining hope of American democracy: that we all work together – through government, with our tax dollars – to invest heavily in the idea that every single kid deserves an equal opportunity to learn and grow, that diversity is a core strength, that we help individuals achieve their potential through collective action, and that knowledge, ideas, and the search for truth matter. Those are not the values of the marketplace (though good education is certainly essential to a thriving economy); they are the values of democracy. Read more »

A city budget we can be proud of

The City Council and Mayor Bloomberg reached an agreement this week on New York City’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget – one that invests in our kids and preserves funding for vital public services.

The City’s $68.7 billion budget is a statement of our priorities, and I am proud that those priorities reflect a deep belief in education (public schools continue to be the largest item by far), in core public services and infrastructure that make sure we have safe and vibrant communities, and in a strong safety net for those who need it (young, old, and in-between).

I’m also excited that, for the first time, the City’s budget includes items that you selected, through participatory budgeting. The seven items – totaling $1 million – that more than 2,200 of you voted for in March are being officially adopted as part of the City’s capital budget this week … and we’re launching a new webpage to keep you posted on their progress. Read more »

Salmon BLT? PS 230 students made it delicious

Brooklyn Daily
06/26/2012

The foodie craze has finally infiltrated the most reluctant of groups: teenagers.

Kensington elementary school PS 230 was transformed into an epicurean battleground on Saturday, as teams of teenagers duked it out in a chef battle, cooking things that had even the seasoned chefs in attendance blinking their eyes.

“I was a little concerned when they told me they wanted to make salmon sandwiches with turkey bacon and truffle oil,” said chef and organizer Veronica Guzman of the winning dish. “But the way that they cooked it I was like, ‘Oh my god, it’s really good!’ ” Read more »

Even more tests?

After many of our kids spent too many hours, days, and weeks of this school year prepping for and taking high-stakes tests (and then having their teachers out-of-class to grade them), this week they are being asked to sacrifice even more class time this month to state tests.

Pearson Publishing, a for-profit corporation with a $32 million contract from New York State will be giving students additional testing with “field questions,” to help develop next year’s tests. The tests won’t impact students, teachers, or schools’ records – but they will take even more class time. Read more »