02/07/17 11:17am
PS 123 in Queens. Photo: NYC DOE

PS 123 in Queens. Photo: NYC DOE

Today the Senate, plus Vice President Mike Pence, voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. DeVos is by many accounts the worst possible Secretary of Education and her policies will affect students in New York City, the only question is how.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, perhaps realizing that he’s running for reelection, has presented himself as a progressive defender of civil rights, including the right to education. As Chalkbeat reported, he stated that the latest New York City budget was devised “with the assumption of profound challenges from Washington.”

What he didn’t explicitly outline was how profoundly those challenges might impact the NYC Department of Education.

Dr. James Kemple, Executive Director of the Research Alliance for New York City Schools at NYU Steinhardt, told Brooklyn Based that “the role of the federal government in education is pretty narrow.” Current federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was passed in 2016, and, Dr. Kemple points out, gives states much greater discretion over their education budgets and educational standards than its predecessor, No Child Left Behind. It would usually take an act of Congress to rewrite legislation like ESSA, but with Trump’s penchant for executive orders, it’s hard to say what the future of education policy from a federal vantage point will be.

Federal money makes up only about 10% of the New York City’s DOE operating budget, but 10% of $23 billion is a significant sum. Trump has demonstrated something like eagerness to yank federal funding from Sanctuary Cities, like New York, including the provision to do so in  the executive order he signed on Jan. 25, though the legality of cutting off federal education funding is unclear.

We spoke to several education policy experts for clues on how DeVos and the Trump administration might affect New York City public schools, which we’ve outlined below. If slashing funding for schools with a high proportion of low-income students, taking away reduced-price lunches, and laying the groundwork for more charter schools and school vouchers aren’t part of your New York values, we also have some ideas for how to fight back. (more…)

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07/03/15 8:18am

Despite its many charms, summer really makes you feel your lack of outdoor space if you’re not a New Yorker lucky enough to have regular access to a rooftop, backyard or deck. Our many amazing state and city parks, from Pelham Bay to the Highline to Marine Park, function as backyard, living room and release valve for the entire city, especially in summer when they offer everything from boating and archery lessons, to overnight camping and outdoor movies–or, simply a leafy green or sandy oasis from the heat of the city. A few of our favorite parks have made significant upgrades just in time for summer, or have other buzzy news to report. Here’s a rundown of what’s new in the green spaces near you.

One of the pavilions appearing this summer on Governors Island. Photo: govisland.com

One of the pavilions appearing this summer on Governors Island. Photo: govisland.com

Governors Island

Just west of Red Hook sits Governors Island, which has undergone serious revitalization over the course of the past few years, and with even more development in progress.

Summer Fun: What can’t you do on Governors Island in summer? Bike the miles of car-free paths, play mini-golf with the kids, eat burgers, steaks, ice cream and more at the Liggett Terrace Food Court in the island’s center, or learn urban farming in the Teaching Garden. That list merely skims the surface of the list of daily activities on the island this summer. (more…)

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