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District 39

Brad Lander

Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington

NEW YORK – Council Member Brad Lander welcomed the announcement today of the suspension of middle school admissions screens and high school district priority. 

“This is a huge and important step towards fairness and integration in our schools, and fundamentally necessary this year to mitigate the inequalities of pandemic school,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “All too often admissions screens measure access to resources far more than ability, furthering segregation and inequality in our public schools.

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Most of the conversation about rezonings tends to focus on new residential and commercial development. How tall will the buildings be? What uses will be allowed? How much of the housing will be affordable, and to whom? And those questions matter a lot, of course.

But that means we don’t usually spend enough time focusing on the infrastructure —

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“We must get our priorities straight. Schools are essential spaces for learning, community building, and services for all of our students. They should not be the first thing to close as the second wave of COVID-19 cases rise around our city. 

“Prioritizing schools means closing indoor dining, gyms, offices, and even non-essential retail before we close the schools. 

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Assemblymember Carroll, Councilmember Lander, Senator Parker and Congressmember Nadler issue joint statement

(Brooklyn, NY) – We commend Governor Cuomo for taking quick action in an effort to stem the tide of Brooklyn’s current COVID spike.  The overall plan is well-intentioned and prudently addresses certain hot-spot areas, but it is not sufficiently targeted and as a consequence will close schools and day cares in areas where there has been no community spread.

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After I wrote yesterday about the school closures in 9 zip codes, the Governor threw the plan into confusion and uncertainty with the announcement of a new plan for targeted closures based on a color-coded map that wasn’t made available until hours later and even still, is difficult to decipher. 

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“I’m relieved to hear that in-person school re-opening will be delayed by two weeks. Now we need to double-down and use the time to insist on real progress on what needs to happen to make schools safe for learning. Principals, teachers and staff need the time to prepare curriculum and schedules. The City still needs to use the delay to inspect every building, get nurses, PPE and testing in every school, roll out childcare plans, and support schools to implement outdoor learning.

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Citing the coronavirus’ disruptions to NYC schools and the need to advance racial equity, six New York City Council Members, led by Council Member Brad Lander, will introduce a resolution calling on the NYC Department of Education to prohibit the use of screens (usually drawn from 4th graders’ spring semester) for middle school admissions for the 2021-2022 school year. 

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“Outdoor space in streets, parks, and playgrounds will give schools much needed flexibility as they plan to safely bring our students and teachers together this fall — for outdoor lunch, gym, recess, instruction, and related services. I’m grateful to the city leaders who listened to our pleas for this common sense plan to increase the footprint of our schools at this urgent moment. 

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The debate about when, whether, and how we reopen our public schools remains one of the most wrenching. So many families (my staff and my own very much included) are desperate for their kids to be back in the classroom. We know their growth and development — and the chance for a more equal city — hinges on good public education.

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“I’m glad to hear that City Hall is taking seriously the need to rapidly scale up child care supervision, and enrichment so that families will have support on the days students will be learning remotely. Finding the space and the staffing needed to serve the 100,000 children each day who will need supervision and age-appropriate enrichment activities while they are not in the classroom is a huge undertaking, but essential to supporting working families.