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December 6, 2017
New York City must move faster to combat school segregation, lawmakers say
Ahead of a city council hearing Thursday where lawmakers are set to grill the de Blasio administration on its plan…
June 6, 2017
The country’s largest school system — and one of the most segregated — just released its ‘school diversity’ plan. Here are the highlights
New York City’s long-awaited plan for school diversity was released Tuesday morning, with surprisingly little fanfare.
May 30, 2017
City Councilmen Brad Lander and Ritchie Torres sign on to letter calling for citywide plan to desegregate schools
The city is expected to release a "bigger vision" plan by June to encourage school diversity.
May 26, 2017
Students demand a say in New York City’s school integration plans
New York City students will rally on the steps of City Hall on Saturday afternoon, calling for action to integrate schools and demanding that students have a voice in the process.
May 25, 2017
Advocates call on Chancellor Fariña to take ‘morally necessary’ steps to end school segregation
The state has one of the most segregated school systems in the country and advocates have been pushing for years for a wide-scale remedy.
February 28, 2017
How many students apply to each NYC school, how many get in, and where do they come from? We could soon find out
A proposed bill would require the city to report more information about school applications, including the zip codes of students who are accepted and rejected.
January 5, 2017
Brooklyn parent council dives into debate on how to integrate middle schools
In December, City Councilman Brad Lander announced a proposal to reserve a percentage of seats in all District 15 middle schools specifically for low-income…
December 22, 2016
In Brooklyn’s segregated District 15, a plan to boost diversity emerges
parent leaders say more comprehensive reform is needed to take advantage of the district's unusual potential for diversity.
November 29, 2016
Desegregation as a human right: New York City Councilman proposes ‘Office of School Diversity’
The bill would create an Office of School Diversity aimed at tackling deep segregation in the nation’s largest school system.
October 5, 2016
Five New York City school districts putting integration on the map
As the school year ramps up, so do plans to integrate New York City classrooms.
July 6, 2016
Under pressure from advocates, city inches toward district-wide integration plan
Top officials are considering a plan to better integrate schools in Manhattan's District 1. Advocates say that's a sign of progress, yet some want the city to go further.
December 23, 2015
School segregation debates grabbed New York headlines in 2015. Now what?
Four questions facing New York City and those pushing to better integrate its schools in 2016.
annals of transparency
June 17, 2015
De Blasio signs law requiring new school diversity reports
The School Diversity Accountability Act will require the city to account for any steps it takes to advance diversity in schools and programs citywide.
diversity of opinion
October 22, 2014
Council increases pressure on city to address school segregation
City lawmakers introduced a slate of legislation Wednesday meant to prod the administration to boost diversity in the city school system. But it’s unclear whether city officials are interested in wading into the jumble of zones, district rules, and citywide policies that together determine which students attend what schools.
June 6, 2014
Brooklyn parent leaders look for political support on school diversity
Frustrated by statistics that show decreasing diversity in their district’s schools, a group of parents in Brooklyn are calling on the city to prioritize school diversity.
October 7, 2013
A new website aims to connect city PTAs
Parent-teacher associations at city schools will be able to operate and collaborate more effectively, thanks to a new website that aims to compile resources…
one year later
August 9, 2012
Détente at Park Slope’s John Jay Campus, but no sea change
Wesley Weissberg has poured hours into Park Slope's public schools, even serving as PTA president at the neighborhood's popular elementary school, P.S. 321. But until this year, she hadn't even considered trying to help the neighborhood's only high schools. Housed in the John Jay Campus at the heart of Park Slope's main shopping street, the high schools have never drawn many students from within the neighborhood's brownstone-lined borders. Students who graduated from local middle schools mostly headed to private schools or Manhattan for ninth grade. That was true well before Weissberg moved to Park Slope. More than a decade ago, the district’s school board president, Mark Peters, waged an effort to turn John Jay High School into a destination for the neighborhood’s middle-class families. As a result, the struggling high school was replaced by three smaller schools: two that had been located elsewhere in the district and one that grew out of John Jay’s relatively strong legal studies program. But even with the overhaul, the new schools, which did not screen students, never attracted local students. And a decade after Peters engineered the building’s redesign, the Secondary School for Law; the Secondary School for Journalism; and the Secondary School for Research, which became Park Slope Collegiate in 2011, continued to struggle. Except for during the hours immediately after school, when some neighborhood shopkeepers would lock their doors to keep John Jay students out, there was little relationship between the building and its neighborhood. Then, last year, tensions over the addition of a selective school billed as more likely to attract Park Slope's high-performing students drew the neighborhood's attention back to the campus — and volunteers like Weissberg into the building. A year into Millennium Brooklyn’s uneasy co-location, it is not yet clear whether the building is on the way to becoming a Park Slope school, or whether the worst fears about Millennium’s presence will come to pass.
April 30, 2012
City Council members call on city to make school food healthier
Chancellor Dennis Walcott with students in the garden at Brooklyn's P.S. 295, which is participating in the "Garden to Cafe" program, on the first day of school. The Department of Education has done an admirable job of adding more healthy school lunch options. But more changes — and faster ones — are needed to keep children healthy, according to two City Council members who are sponsoring a resolution to improve school food. In the last few years, the Office of SchoolFood has added more vegetarian options and swapped out some ingredients for healthier alternatives. But Brad Lander and Gale Brewer, City Council members from Park Slope and the Upper West Side, think more could be done. "Despite these improvements, critics note that school meals still contain too many “processed” food items, such as breaded chicken nuggets, as well as foods that contain less healthy ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and saturated fats, such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," says their resolution, which they are formally proposing today. Lander and Brewer want the city to adopt recommendations made recently by the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a group of food and food justice organizations. Among other things, they want 10 percent of food served in schools to be produced locally and schools to go meatless at least one day a week. They also want the city to be required to publish ingredient lists for food served in schools — something that the department has not always done. When nutrition facts were inadvertently published in 2010, they showed that some food served in cafeterias did not meet the city’s own nutrition guidelines for school bake sale snacks.
March 27, 2012
Walcott: Projected $64 million cut to schools only temporary
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott repeated a promise not to touch principals' budgets next year, saying that a proposed cut in school funding that would cost the city more than 1,100 teaching positions would likely disappear once the city finalizes its budget later this spring. Of the 5,000 teachers who typically leave the system each year, the preliminary 2013 budget projects that only about 4,000 would be replaced, which would save about $64 million, according to the city's preliminary budget . But Walcott said that funding would likely be restored in time for the final budget and that principals would be able to hire for any vacated positions. City Council members pestered Walcott about that and much more at a hearing this afternoon on the agency’s $19.6 billion budget, a 1 percent increase that won't cover the added expenses the department expects. While last year’s hearings focused almost solely on opposition to a proposal to layoff thousands of teachers, the concerns raised by elected officials today spanned a range of the city's education policies, including increased class sizes, the small schools initiative, spending on technology and contracts, and Medicaid collection. But they reserved most of their early criticism on the $64 million cut in areas that directly fund schools. The decreased sum represents a headcount reduction of 1,117 teacher positions, according to the city's projections. “Year after year the DOE has made cuts to school budgets,” said Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson. “How are schools supposed to make do next year given the loss of funding proposed in the budget?”
December 14, 2011
Other schools without space where city gave Moskowitz a home
By the end of tonight's Panel for Educational Policy meeting, Eva Moskowitz's new Success Academy charter school is virtually assured of having a home next fall in Brownstone Brooklyn. For another charter school that, unlike Moskowitz's, had applied to open there, the future is less certain. The charter school that the Department of Education has proposed siting in District 15 was originally authorized to open in nearby District 13 or District 14, but in an unusual move, the city altered the plan. Meanwhile, the department has not yet proposed locations for two charter schools approved for District 15, and a founder of one of them says she isn't optimistic that her school will open in the area. The Brooklyn Urban Garden School, a mom-and-pop charter middle school founded by a group of parents and educators who live in District 15, applied for public space when its charter application was approved in August. But there were only two school buildings in the district with enough space for new schools and co-founder Susan Tenner said she doesn't expect BUGS to be offered space in either of them. As a result, she said she's unsure if the school, which has an environmental theme, can afford to open for the 2012-2013 school year. "We're still shooting for August, but we're kind of in a tough spot until we've signed a lease," Tenner said. One option the school might have: To open in District 13, where there is more available school space and fewer high-performing schools — and where Moskowitz originally proposed siting her school.
June 1, 2011
Walcott defends budget against fierce council opposition
Underscored by an intervention from the council’s top budget broker, education committee members rang a unified tone at their hearing today, telling schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott they won’t support his final budget if a plan to eliminate thousands of teaching positions isn't reversed. Sources and council members said Mayor Bloomberg's current budget proposal would not have enough votes to pass at the end of the month because of the layoffs. The city has maintained the layoffs are necessary to eliminate a $350 million education deficit. "I just don't see how I would vote for a budget that lays off 4000 teachers," said Brad Lander, of Park Slope, echoing a sentiment shared by several other members. The chorus of opposition started an hour before the hearing, when no less than 15 council members from the committee joined protesters on City Hall steps to punctuate their opposition to the cuts. Walcott repeatedly defended the budget as members challenged ballooning contract costs and bureaucratic waste. They said that curbing those expenses could make up the difference to save teaching jobs.
July 21, 2009
Parent coalition begins writing checks for Council races
A group of parents is forming its own political action committee and donating small amounts of money to candidates who share their educational views. Members of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, a group that focuses on educational barriers facing low-income and minority students, will debut their new PAC tomorrow on the steps of City Hall. At this point in the campaign season, the group is supporting four challengers and nine incumbents — among them Speaker Christine Quinn and Education Committee chair Robert Jackson — for City Council. The PAC is "really designed to support those candidates who we have goals in common with," said Victoria Bousquet, a coalition parent member. The PAC is technically independent from CEJ. "It's really a matter of when we interviewed them, the general feedback - how they felt about English Language Learners, about middle schools, about the new Regents requirements, and parental involvement," she said, adding, "No one's perfect. We know that none of them are going to be infallible." The list includes incumbents Helen Diane Foster, Gale Brewer, Charles Barron, Julissa Ferreras, Letitia James, Rosie Mendez, and Melissa Mark Viverito.
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