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.

Running (and organizing) for our schools

What a blast! Last Sunday, hundreds of kids, parents, and teachers from more tha

What a blast! Last Sunday, hundreds of kids, parents, and teachers from more than three dozen schools came out for the Fifth Annual Brooklyn PTA 5k Run for Schools. Donations are still coming in, but we already know that the race raised more than $10,000 for the first time! Read more »

Response to Mayor's Budget

Mayor Bloomberg’s FY13 Executive Budget:
Some Good News for Our Classrooms, Bad News for Just About Everything Else

City Councilmember Brad Lander had the following statement in response to Mayor Bloomberg’s Executive Budget:

"Mayor Bloomberg presented his FY2013 Executive Budget proposal this morning. There was some good news for our public schools, but bad news for just about everything else.

"For the first time in five years, there will not be cuts to our teaching force through attrition. Earlier this spring, my office released a report highlighting the painful impact of the loss of teachers in recent years: the number of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders in general education classrooms of 30 or more students has grown tenfold during this period (and overall class sizes are up significantly). The Mayor’s Preliminary Budget in February proposed to continue teacher attrition, projecting a loss of 2,570 teachers, which would have resulted in thousands more young kids in very large classes. I am pleased that the Mayor and the Department of Education recognized this problem, and took these cuts to our classrooms off the table. It will make a real difference in our schools.

"Unfortunately, the Mayor’s Executive Budget continues to propose devastating cuts to child care and after school programs, to our public libraries, to 20 fire companies, to senior services, and to shelter beds for runaway homeless youth. The cuts to child care and after-school are particular unacceptable: 47,000 kids will no longer have somewhere safe to go after school, on top of more than 40,000 childcare slots that have been lost in recent years (more than 60% of the slots that existed in 2009). Read more »

Put safety first at PS 29

Councilmember Brad Lander's letter to the NYC School Construction Authority regarding asbestos abatement work planned while school is in session.


Ms. Lorraine Grillo
President and Chief Executive Officer
New York City School Construction Authority
3030 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, NY 11101

Dear President Grillo:

I am writing to strongly urge the School Construction Authority to suspend asbestos abatement work (and other work affecting air quality) at P.S. 29 in Brooklyn until the 2011-2012 school year is over. Asbestos is a known carcinogen, and the lack of clarity, transparency, and discussion about asbestos abatement at P.S. 29 is of great concern. Read more »

What does it mean to put students first?

Sign up for the PTA 5k and help fundraise for Brooklyn PTAs.


 

More than just about anything else we do in New York City government, our public schools reflect a shared commitment to our city’s future. For me, our schools are a place of real civic magic, where our kids learn to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders, writers, engineers, teachers, and citizens. I love spending time in classrooms, at after-school arts programs, and at PTA meetings.

So I’m proud to again be a sponsor of the Brooklyn PTA 5k run, on Sunday, April 29th at 9 AM, in which students, parents, teachers, principals, and friends come together to raise money collectively for our schools. I hope you’ll register now to join us this year. This is one of the few events I’m aware of anywhere in the city where PTAs raise money together, across schools, with an eye toward equity.

Please sign-up today. Read more »

Apply for Teen Battle Chef 2012

This summer (2012), the Office of Councilmember Brad Lander and Family Cook Productions will once again be bringing the Teen Battle Chef program to the Kensington/Windsor Terrace area. Over eight training sessions, the students in the program will learn food preparation and cooking, with an emphasis healthy, nutritious food. This hands-on culinary training program empowers youth to challenge themselves and develop leadership, teamwork, and culinary skills as well as gain nutrition knowledge and a new appreciation for diverse, healthy and sustainably-produced food. Read more »

Audio: Participatory Budgeting Winners

The Brian Lehrer Show
04/03/2012

Four city council districts let constituents decide how to allocate some funds. Brad LanderBrooklyn City Councilman (D 39), and Alexa Kasdan, director of research and policy for the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, review the results. Plus Christine Petro, Windsor Terrace resident, and George Sanchez, Cobble Hill resident, talk about their projects that received funding.  Read more »

And the winning projects are …

residents wait to vote at Windsor Terrace Library

Wow! This weekend, more than 2,200 of you came out and took part in what the New York Times called “revolutionary civics in action” – NYC’s first experiment with a new form of hyper-local democracy, participatory budgeting.

I was deeply heartened by the energy that so many of you have put in since we launched the effort last fall, attending brainstorming meetings, joining delegate committees, and voting on the final slate of projects.

And now, I am proud to announce the winning projects from the vote:

  1. Renovation of two dysfunctional bathrooms at PS 124 ($150,000, 958 votes)
  2. Innovative community composting system near Gowanus Canal to turn 1 ton/day of food waste into soil ($165,000, 919 votes)
  3. Planting 100 new trees on blocks throughout the district with few or no trees ($100,000, 767 votes)
  4. New technology for PS 130 and PS 154 ($140,000, 758 votes)
  5. Repairing Prospect Park pedestrian paths to prevent flooding, and adding trash cans in the park ($205,000, 648 votes)
  6. Repairs and safety improvements at the dangerous Prospect Expressway/Church Avenue pedestrian crossing ($200,000, 606 votes)
  7. New books and equipment for the Kensington public library to enhance the branch’s use for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington's cultural diversity ($80,000, 582 votes)

Participatory Budgeting: Vote Results

April 2, 2012
For Immediate Release

Over 2,000 Residents Turn Out
In First Participatory Budgeting Vote
 

Seven winning projects in Councilmember Lander’s district to be funded with $1 million in City funds

This weekend, 2,213 residents of City Councilmember Brad Lander’s diverse Brooklyn district voted in NYC’s first “participatory budgeting” election, a groundbreaking initiative that lets community members decide how to spend their own tax dollars on projects in their neighborhood. Voters selected from among twenty projects proposed by neighborhood residents. The seven projects receiving the most votes will be prioritized for funding as part of the City’s FY2013 budget, which will be adopted in June, with just over $1 million in City capital funds committed by Councilmember Lander:

Bathroom Renovation for the Children of PS 124 - $150,000 

Renovate two dysfunctional bathrooms that serve over 136 of the youngest students daily in a high-needs elementary school. 958 votes

Brooklyn Neighbors Composting - $165,000

Pest-free, smell-free compost system near Gowanus Canal uses 1 ton/day of kitchen food scraps collected at local greenmarkets and schools to create rich soil for our gardens, parks, and trees. 919 votes

 District 39 Tree Planting - $100,000

Plant 100 new trees and install tree guards on blocks with few or no trees (Parks Department will contribute an additional $85,000 to this effort for tree planting). 767 votes

 Technology: A Better Future for PS 154 / PS 130 Students - $140,000

Installation of 15 Smartboards (PS 130), 45 13" Macbook computers with 2 carts and 2 wireless printers (PS 154 grades 1, 3, & 4). 758 votes

 Prospect Park Pedestrian Pathway Rehabilitation - $205,000

Repair Prospect Park pedestrian paths near Park Circle and Long Meadow to prevent flooding, add 10 trash cans in park. 648 votes

 Pedestrian Hazards at the Prospect Expressway - $200,000

Repairs & additions to badly damaged and dangerous 9 lane Prospect Expressway pedestrian crossing at Church Avenue, area and landscape. 606 votes

 Kensington Library Resources and Community Space - $80,000

New books/DVDs for library, equipment for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington's cultural diversity. 582 votes

Vote totals for all projects can be viewed here.  Read more »

Putting In Their 2 Cents

New York Times
03/30/2012

ON a weeknight in mid-March, a room in the Park Slope Armory Y.M.C.A. that is frequently used for children’s birthday parties was packed with tables draped in pale yellow, 99-cent-store, vinyl coverings and topped with propped-up tri-fold poster boards.

About 100 people bumped and jostled their way to the snack table lined with bowls of popcorn and pretzels. Eager presenters button-holed passers-by. It looked like a middle-school science fair. But the buzz in the room wasn’t over homemade solar system models or photosynthesis; it was the sound of revolutionary civics in action. Read more »

Report: Number of Elementary School Students in Very Large Classes Has Skyrocketed Due to Budget Cuts in Recent Years

As NYC teaching force has declined through attrition, the number of elementary school students in classes with 30 or more pupils has more than tripled since FY09.
The Mayor’s proposed FY13 budget would continue that trend. 

Brooklyn, NY – Today, New York City Council Member Brad Lander released a report that finds a startling increase of elementary school students in very large classes, due to budget cuts that have reduced the number of teachers in New York City public schools. Read more »