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.

Cries of ‘Shame’ Accompany Vote For Cobble Hill Charter

Brooklyn Eagle
12/15/2011

The Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) voted late Wednesday to approve “co-locating” a Success Academy charter school inside a Cobble Hill building already occupied by three public schools.

Before the meeting, several hundred sign-waving attendees held their own vote — of “no confidence” in the PEP. “Parents, students and educators have no vote on this panel,” many in the crowd read in unison. “This panel is here to rubber stamp the decision made by Bloomberg.” Read more »

Of Dumpster Pools and Solar Panels: Checking In on NYC’s Participatory Budgeting Project

Channel 13 WNET
12/12/2011

Participatory budgeting, an experiment in democratic engagement that launched in New York City this fall, allows citizens to suggest how their tax dollars should be spent, and then to vote on the proposed ideas.

Hundreds of people in the districts of the four  Council members involved — Brad LanderJumaane WilliamsMelissa Mark-Viverito and Eric Ulrich — attended public assemblies over the past few months to share their ideas on how to spend approximately $1 million per district in capital funds. The proposals are now being considered by volunteer committees and will be put to a vote this spring. Read more »

Testimony opposing proposed charter school in IS 293 in Cobble Hill

Statement from City Councilmember Brad Lander in opposition to the proposed co-location of a Success Academy Charter School at IS 293 in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

(prepared for November 29, 2011 hearing)

Read more »

Participatory Budgeting delegate committees get to work

PB budget delegate training

Participatory Budgeting update from Maggie Tobin of the Streets & Sidewalks Committee:

Monday evening, November 6th, the budget delegates from the 39th District all met at P.S. 230 in Kensington to kick off the long and arduous (but truly fun and fascinating!) process of deciding how we would like to spend a million dollars from Councilmember Brad Lander’s discretionary funds in our collective community. It was a very interesting evening, especially because I met so many new people from all over the district, each with wonderful ideas on how we can improve our neighborhoods. Read more »

A Progressive Caucus for the "New Progressive Movement"

Living wage rally

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, had a great Op Ed in yesterday’s New York Times, on “The New Progressive Movement.”

Sachs believes that the Occupy Wall Street movement suggests the coming of a third progressive era in American politics (after the Progressive Era, following the financial crisis of 1893; and the New Deal in the 1930s, after the Great Depression). In all three of these cycles, an era of great inequality (the Gilded Age, the Roaring 20s, the financial bubble of the 2000s) was followed by a financial crisis, and then a demand not only to restore economic prosperity, but also to address inequality. Read more »

Audio: Participatory Budgeting

The Brian Lehrer Show
10/21/2011

Brad Lander, Brooklyn City Councilman (D-39), and Melissa Mark-Viverito, city council member representing East Harlem and parts of the Bronx and Upper West Side, and member of the council's Progressive Caucus, discuss their new plan to involve constituents in budget allocation.

Read more »

4 Council Members, Each With $1 Million, Will Let Public Decide How It’s Spent

New York Times
09/14/2011

Four City Council members, intrigued by experiments begun in Brazil to let ordinary citizens determine how government uses tax dollars, say they plan to allow their constituents to decide how $4 million is spent next year. Read more »

New School Year, and Some New Staff

Despite the hurricane and the earthquake, I hope you had a great end to the summer and are looking forward to the new school year, as New York City’s public schools start this morning.

There are, of course, many pressing political debates surrounding public education – budget cuts, class size, overcrowding, high-stakes testing, accountability, achievement gaps, curriculum, special education, parent involvement – that I’ll have more to say about as the year goes on, and that I look forward to hearing about from many of you. Read more »

Check Out the New Mural!

Groundswell mural
Kensington Prospect
09/02/2011

Editor's Note: Councilmember Brad Lander is happy to have provided funding to help Kensignton youth paint this wonderful mural on Church Avenue.

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The new mural on East 5th Street at Church Avenue was unveiled yesterday at a ceremony featuring folks from the Groundswell Community Mural Project, the Department of Transportation, and some people from the community who helped make it happen. Read more »