EDUCATION

Public education is the foundation of every community. We need to ensure our students are prepared to compete in an increasingly competitive and technological world. Students and teachers alike need more resources and better advocates.

As City Council Member, I will:

Keep our schools safe from COVID as we work to bring all students back for in-person learning this fall

  • Though I would not take office until the school year is halfway through, I will continue to make sure that there is always sufficient PPE, cleaning supplies, and other resources so that there will be no resurgence of COVID.

  • Within my work at the UFT, I have been helping vaccinate educators. I will continue vaccination efforts throughout the city so that anyone who eligible and wants a vaccine will be able to get one at no charge.

  • What many people do not know is that the UFT, from the beginning, has been trying to be a partner in reopening schools. The "two-case rule" was first devised by the city's medical experts as a precautionary step which the UFT agreed to. When the city announced the rule's elimination due to declining community infection rates and an increase in vaccinations, the UFT's own medical experts agreed and the UFT helped school communities safely put in place the new guidelines.  When I am in the Council, I will always follow the science and medical experts when it comes to reopening our schools.

Reduce Class Sizes

  • I will work with the School Construction Authority to look for available office space, properties and land throughout the city to open more schools and classrooms.

  • With more schools available, school overcrowding will be reduced and students will be able to go to schools closer to home.

  • As a teacher, I know firsthand how important one-on-one interactions are in the learning process and with smaller classes, students will get the help they need.

Build a high school at the borders in between Gowanus and 7th Ave - Park Slope

  • I pledge to build a high school on the borders of Gowanus and 7th Ave to provide great, modern educational opportunities to those in the area. Specifically, in the face of new development in the Gowanus area, we must capitalize on the space and opportunity. We must ensure that the education we provide to local students is nothing but the best.


Build a second High School at Carroll Gardens and Columbia Waterfront in partnership with Presbyterian Hospital

  • The Gowanus rezoning plan is a major concern in the community. Not only will this proposed rezoning project include 22-30 story residential buildings along the iconic canal, but it is not environmentally friendly. Still, as we tackle the reshaping of our city, it also presents us with the opportunity to create the change we wish to see.

  • Because of that, I pledge to build a second high school in the Carroll Gardens area to ensure the best possible opportunities for our residents. Education is my priority.

  • Along with the construction of a second high school, I will grow the alliance between the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare system. This collaboration has already provided numerous jobs to residents and will continue to provide new resources to the area.

 

Reform the SHSAT and Create More Specialized High Schools, including one in Kensington

  • A single test should never be the sole determination for if a student is able to get into one of the specialized high schools. I will work with my partners in Albany to pass legislation to create an alternative portfolio model that will incorporate students' personal backgrounds, school work, extracurricular activities, and community service in determining admission to one of the specialized high schools.

  • In addition, I will make sure that no-cost SHSAT test prep is available to every rising 8th grader so each student has a fair chance at doing well on the exam.

  • To complement reforming the way we administer the SHSAT, I will work with the Department of Education to increase the number of specialized high schools in the city. In the most populous borough, it is unfathomable that we only have two specialized high schools. An ideal location for a new specialized high school is in Kensington since it is in the rough geologic center of Brooklyn.

Implement Health & Social Services in Local Schools

  • During my time as a government liaison to the New York City Council for the United Federation of Teachers, I learned what increased social services could do for kids. Because of that, I will advocate for more New York City schools to take on the “community schools model,” which allows schools to provide more comprehensive services to students. In installing dedicated social workers in our local schools, we will see the tremendous social and emotional benefits in our students.

  • We also must reimagine the health services we provide in our schools, opting for improvements that will promote both student’s mental and physical health. With the new challenge of coronavirus, this is more important than ever. We must invest in the resources needed to keep students safe and healthy.  

 

Create low-cost municipal Broadband and Wi-Fi

  • This pandemic showcased the digital divide in the city. Many students had to sit outside neighborhood fast-food restaurants just so they could attend class and do their homework. As we become more dependent on the Internet for our daily lives, it seems obvious that we need to make sure that everyone can get online.

  • I will work to create a low-cost municipal broadband Internet Service Provider for all city residents that will force the existing private ISPs to compete for our business (a public option).

  • Since many low-income New Yorkers would not be able to afford Internet access, as part of this program, we would provide stipends for purchasing a subscription - modeled after the health care subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.

  • With terminals and wireless hotspots across the city, the ultimate goal would be that everyone would be able to get online without having to rewire their homes.

Increase school accessibility

  • In 2015, it was revealed that a staggering 83% of city schools are not ADA-compliant. As a Councilmember, I will provide more funding to the School Construction Authority and Department of Education to retrofit schools so all students will be able to go to schools, use the bathrooms, and safely evacuate in case of an emergency.

Supporting access to cultural institutions

  • Learning does not just happen in the classroom and does not end when one becomes an adult. New York City is home to world-class museums, theatres, art galleries and there is a direct correlation between societies that embrace the arts and advancements in science and technology. I will work to expand the pay-what-you-can model used at the Metropolitan Museum of Art so that cultural institutions receiving city subsidies so all New York City residents - especially those on fixed and low incomes and with disabilities - will be able to experience all of the great experiences the city has to offer.

  • I will work with groups like the Broadway League to expand existing low-to-no-cost productions of shows, plays, and ballets for students.

Expand extracurricular and summer programs

  • One of the great joys of my childhood was going to summer camp. What people do not realize is that it takes the things one learns during the school year and forces a person to apply them to real-world situations. While taking a cooking class at camp, I took the math and science skills I learned and used them to make something delicious.

  • I want to expand funding for extracurricular classes, personal enrichment courses, and summer camps so that students of all ages can learn skills that will have practical and potentially financially rewarding applications.

Expand a Dial-a-Teacher & Anti-Bullying Hotlines

  • As a teacher’s union organizer, I heard about the issues and concerns teachers face on a daily basis and I took action. As the UFT Liasion to City Hall, I helped create the Dial-a-Teacher and Anti-Bullying Hotline programs.

  • Dial-a-Teacher would give students access to teachers that can give them free homework help. Not only would this improve students’ grades, but this would also give students even more support at home. The Anti-Bullying Hotline will be implemented to help those experiencing bullying or witnessing it.

  • In the City Council, I will expand those programs because our schools need to be safe and efficient centers for learning.