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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

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  • School Diversity Benefits All Children - and Parents

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    Mayor de Blasio on a school visit (photo: Rob Bennett, Mayor's Office)


    My four-year-old daughter has a good friend at preschool who happens to have the same name. I'll call them both "Maya." My daughter is Asian, and her friend is Latino. Recently, a classmate said, "There are two Mayas in our class. One is white and the other is brown." My Asian daughter is the "white" Maya. The classmate's mom probed why he categorized the two Mayas this way, but didn't get much of an answer. Innocently, the boy didn't realize why his categorization was inaccurate or

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  • Addressing NYC's School Overcrowding Crisis

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    Protesting school overcrowding in Queens


    All parents in New York City deserve the peace of mind that their children will be able to attend a school where they can thrive and grow. Unfortunately, following years of neglect from the Bloomberg administration, our city's school system is plagued by school overcrowding and excessive class sizes, where hundreds of thousands of our children simply don't have adequate space to learn.

    With education a top priority for the city, it's critical that our leaders take strong action to address the chronic underfunding of our city's school

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  • New York's Education Policy in Historic Disarray

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    Gov. Cuomo in May, 2015 (photo: Office of the Governor - Kevin P. Coughlin)


    The past several months have been one of the most tumultuous periods in New York State's educational history, culminating several years of false starts and disarray in education policy. It's not without precedent, though, and history has valuable lessons for New York today.

    Disillusionment and disavowal of recent educational practices
    In December, President

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  • DOE Language Access Expansion Builds Bridges to City Families

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    Steven Choi, the author 


    For years, advocates and community based organizations have urged the New York City Department of Education to increase translation and interpretation services to public school parents and guardians with limited English proficiency. Last week, I was honored to join schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, a true champion for the immigrant community to announce a series of initiatives aimed at easing language access for parents in schools.

    Immigrant families face tremendous obstacles – speaking to their child's teacher or principal should not

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  • Brooklyn Neighborhoods Look to Address School Overcrowding, Avoid Rezoning Issues Seen Elsewhere

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    The community school forum (photo: @JoAnneSimonBK52) 


    As rezoning problems plague some city school districts, leaders in one area of Brooklyn are looking to avoid similar pitfalls while reducing overcrowding.

    In Carroll Gardens last week, local officials and parents gathered in the PS 58 auditorium to discuss overcrowding issues facing three elementary schools. Like others across the city, District 15 - which includes the schools at

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  • In Effort to Ensure Sound Education, City Battles Student Homelessness

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    De Blasio speaks, with DHS' Taylor foreground (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)


    This summer saw the city’s street homeless population become a tabloid sensation, with Mayor de Blasio seemingly forced into addressing the increase in homeless people on New York sidewalks. With shelters overflowing despite the city opening dozens of new ones, and a typical warm-weather increase in those who prefer the street to the often dangerous conditions of those shelters, the mayor announced several

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  • The Week That Was in New York Politics, Sept. 28-Oct. 2

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    photo: Stanley Kubrick via Museum of the City of New York


    Gotham Gazette's Week in Review, Friday October 2

    PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: Mayor de Blasio does some road repaving on Staten Island, via the Mayor's Office; Gov. Cuomo checks out the beer at the Anheuser

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  • What is Flanagan Looking for From De Blasio on Mayoral Control?

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    Sen. Flanagan, right, celebrates with the governor (Governor's Office via flickr)


    Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan has made it no secret that he lacks confidence in Mayor Bill de Blasio's handling of the New York City schools. Made clear when the state recently extended de Blasio's control of city schools for just one year, on Monday in a New York Post op-ed Flanagan

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  • School Meals in the Budget: Applause for Breakfast, Groans for Lunch

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    Lunch 4 Learning at City Hall (photo: Zehra Rehman)


    Supporters of expanding free school meals in New York City are expressing mixed reactions to the city budget agreement announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito on Monday night.

    The fiscal year 2016 budget, at $78.5 billion of spending soon to be officially approved,

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  • Mayor & Council Announce $78.5B Fiscal 2016 Budget Deal

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    Mayor & Speaker announce budget (photo: William Alatriste)


    A little after 10 p.m. Monday night and more than a week before deadline, Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that they had reached a deal on a balanced fiscal year 2016 city budget. The $78.5 billion budget is for the fiscal year beginning July 1 and includes additional spending from the mayor's Executive Budget, released in May, for several Council priorities - including the hiring of 1,297 new NYPD officers.

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  • What Meals Should City Schools Provide, and When?

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    CMs Dromm, Kallos, & King, Public Advocate James, & advocates (photo: @Lunch4Learning)


    “All I know is that when I would tell him that I’m hungry, he would say that he doesn’t have money to buy me something to eat,” says 17-year-old Althea of growing up with her father. She describes getting food at her house as a “gamble,” adding, “Sometimes the school lunch was the only meal I would eat for the entire day.”

    For many young people in New York City, like Althea, the

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  • The Week Ahead in New York Politics, June 1

    New York City Hall

    New York City Hall


    What to watch for this week in New York politics:

    Welcome to June! A city budget is due by the end of the month. The state legislative session is due to end mid-month. And, it's both Gun Violence Awareness Month in New York City (legislation in 2013 declared it the first city in the United States to have a month dedicated to the cause) and LGBT Pride Month. Look for events and legislation related to each this week and as the month continues.

  • Education Upheaval in Albany is Backdrop to DOE Budget Hearing

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    Chancellor Carmen Farina testifying Thursday (photo: @MarkLevineNYC)


    With an eye on Albany, it was time Thursday morning for New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña to again testify in front of the City Council about her agency's proposed fiscal year 2016 budget and key education issues facing the city. The heightened level of concern with events in the capital comes amid shakeups in state leadership, important legislation on the negotiating table with deadlines looming, and recently passed controversial state teacher evaluation laws.

  • Quiet Before the Storm in New Phase of Mayoral Control Debate

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    Mayor de Blasio sits to testify in Albany (photo: Skip Dickstein via Twitter)


    At the end of June this year the law that grants New York's mayor control over city schools will expire. The expiration was designed so that all interested parties can take part in a discussion of what works and what doesn't, and adjust the law as needed. Parents, teachers, advocates, and legislators all have ideas about how to make the system better. But this year there

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  • Council Bills Aimed at Clarity, Improvement Around School Discipline and Support

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    CM Ritchie Torres at a recent event (photo: William Alatriste)


    At a joint hearing of the City Council's Committees on Public Safety and Education on Tuesday, council members will discuss and hear testimony on three bills addressing school safety.

    One bill, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would require the city Department of Education

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