April, 2014


Dept of Ed sticks with plan to bus PS 11 kids to Astoria

Elected officials in western Queens have lost a three-month battle with the city Department of Education and nearly 250 incoming kindergartners at PS 11 in Woodside will be bused 3 miles away every school day beginning this fall. Comment.
Oakland Gardens

Art missing at boro schools

Nearly one in five public schools in Queens is lacking a certified arts teacher and about 17 percent of borough schools do not have a partnership with an outside arts and cultural organization, a new report by the city comptroller’s office shows. Comments (3).
Long Island City

High school in LIC ranked 5th in Northeast: Report

The Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Long Island City has been ranked as the fifth best high school in the Northeast, according to The Washington Post. Comment.
Jamaica Estates

Evils of global slavery explored at SJU event

In globalized supply chains where timber felled in Brazil is used in the manufacturing process that creates steel for U.S. automobiles, the economic and moral systems that permit forced labor are often hidden from sight. Comment.
East Elmhurst

Vaughn College finds new president in DeVivo

Vaughn College found a new president this week. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Rich Hill High rallies for keeping its annex

A new district school may have its name printed in the city’s high school brochure, but Richmond Hill High School says legacy is displayed on the building where the new school is slated to open. Comments (2).

Meng hosts cultural panel

Leaders of key Jewish and Korean-American organizations gathered at Queensborough Community College Monday night to bridge the gap between their cultures. Comments (6).

Albany to foot pre-K bill

Parents have until the end of the month to enroll their children in the first phase of the city’s pre-kindergarten expansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a Ridgewood school Wednesday. Comment.
South Jamaica

State accord clears way for SE Queens charter

The new state budget effectively reverses Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to deny space to a previously approved charter school in South Jamaica, and the City Council Education Committee is planning to hold a hearing on the effect Albany’s decision will have on traditional public schools going forward. Comment.

March, 2014

Springfield Gardens

De Blasio softens stance on charters

In the final stretch before Albany decides which direction to take on issues like pre-K and charter schools, Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to find some common ground on both sides of the devisive charter school debate. Comment.
Fresh Meadows

PS 173 community to take safety pledge in memory of Flushing girl killed by SUV

Hundreds of students, parents and teachers will take a safety pledge at PS 173 Friday to commemorate the memory of Allison Liao, a 3-year-old girl who police say was struck and killed by a car in downtown Flushing in October. Comment.

Search for compromise on PS 11 busing issue

The city Panel for Educational Policy decided to delay a final vote on the controversial plan by the city Department of Education to bus 250 children from PS 11 in Woodside to another school 3 miles away while a construction project gets under way. Comment.
College Point

Avonte’s brother thanks New Yorkers for support

Avonte Oquendo’s family has broken its silence for the first time since the teen’s remains were found on the College Point shore in January. Comments (1).

P-Tech will be good for Martin Van Buren HS

Recently, a number of elected officials have lamented the city Department of Education’s decision not to withdraw the co-location plans at Martin Van Buren High School. Comments (1).
South Jamaica

SE Queens church rallies for charters

Charter school supporters gathered outside a southeast Queens church earlier this week, asking Albany to pass legislation that will provide the institutions with funding to build their own school houses. Comments (2).

Cardozo pupil, 17, wins car in American Miss pageant

Lauren Schwartzberg, a 17-year-old senior at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside and newly licensed driver, won a 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible at the National American Miss Pageant held in Hollywood, Calif. Comment.

LaGuardia students win $250 in Kim essay contest

State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing) awarded two LaGuardia Community College students $250 each for winning the Grit Essay Contest. Comments (1).

De Blasio pushes edu-tax plan at pre-K program in Sunnyside

With the clock ticking in Albany where his push for an education-funding tax hike received mixed support, Mayor Bill de Blasio stopped in Sunnyside last week to tour one of the many half-day pre-K sites he hopes to expand next school year. Comments (1).

Students should learn trades

William Lewis’ opinion that the mayor and the city schools chancellor should concentrate on trade school courses for high schools in the city is right on. Comments (1).

SE Queens opposes co-location

I am proud of the work we have begun to do in order to establish a fair and equitable education system for our city’s children. The recent decision to withdraw nine space-sharing, co-located charter schools is a step in the right direction. Comments (2).
Mayoral Spin Cycle

De Blasio faces uphill battle over charter schools treatment

In his first 100 days in office, Mayor Bill de Blasio has quickly and successfully started to push much of his progressive agenda in education, housing and paid sick leave. Comment.

Assembly plans to OK mayor’s pre-K tax hike

The state Assembly planned to authorize the city to raise income taxes to fund an expansion of pre-K, but in the state Senate, where Democrats do not hold the reins, the body was split on how to fund the expansion. Comment.
South Jamaica

Dueling lawsuits challenge mayor on boro charters

The fates of a dozen new schools planned for Queens next year are up in the air as Mayor Bill de Blasio is facing legal challenges to his decision to reverse and continue a number of co-locations approved under the Bloomberg administration. Comment.

Fariña praises arts at Flushing schools

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña came to Queens last week to answer parents’ questions and give her vision for the future of the city’s education system at a town hall meeting. Comments (1).

District 26 holds breakfast

Several elected officials met with parents and educators of School District 26 last week as the district’s presidents’ council hosted a legislative breakfast in Bayside to discuss some of the most pressing issues facing education today, including school safety and Common Core standards. Comment.

Flushing’s PS 154 wins Eco-School green award

Flushing’s PS 154 has become the second school in the city to achieve Green Flag status, an award given to schools that excel in sustainability initiatives. Comment.

Teacher needs answers over treatment by DOE

This letter is in regard to my investigations with the Office of Special Investigations in the city Department of Education and my still pending investigation and charges from a school-based investigation. Comments (3).
Long Island City

LaGuardia CC makes list of top 150 junior colleges

LaGuardia Community College was named one of the nation’s top 150 community colleges by the Aspen College Excellence Program Tuesday, so the Long Island City school is eligible to compete for the 2015 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and $1 million in prize funds. Comment.
The Civic Scene

DOE reverses course on District 26’s valued G&T program

People buy a house or a co-op or rent in a neighborhood for several reasons, one of which is the quality of the education system. District 26 has a fine gifted and talented program, which attracts many middle-class families and makes it the top district in the city. To enter the program, young children at age 4 have to pass a test and be evaluated. Comments (6).
South Jamaica

City drops boro charter school

Mayor Bill de Blasio last week reversed a decision the Bloomberg administration made during its waning hours by refusing to allow three controversial charter schools, including one in southeast Queens, to share space with public schools in the fall, though another charter in the borough is still on the table. Comment.
Long Island City

DOE scraps co-location scheduled for LIC High

Defenders of Long Island City High School are applauding a decision by the city Department of Education to shelve a controversial plan that would have reduced enrollment over the next four years to make room for a career and technical education school. Comment.

Pols denounce DOE plans

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) joined several elected officials and parents of students at PS 11 in Woodside to denounce the city Department of Education’s final recommendation to send the school’s kindergartners to PS 171 in Astoria. Comment.

February, 2014


Proposed pre-K sites double in boro: City

The number of city schools and community-based organizations proposing to host pre-kindergarten sites in Queens next school year has more than doubled after Mayor Bill de Blasio requested submissions to help fulfill his goal of providing 21,000 new seats next year, the administration announced earlier this week. Comment.
Middle Village

PS/IS 49 to lose principal

The hard-driving principal of PS/IS 49 in Middle Village plans to retire before the end of the academic year after delaying his plans to help the school plan an expansion. Comments (19).
Springfield Gardens

Richards allocates $2.5M in Mandela tech grant

A city councilman from southeast Queens wants Nelson Mandela to continue to inspire young students. Comment.

PS 201 teacher nixed Malcolm X: parents

A Flushing parent was furious when her son was forbidden by a teacher to write an essay about Malcolm X for Black History Month. Comments (2).

PS 79 mourns beloved teacher of pre-K classes

Students and teachers at PS 79 in Whitestone gathered last week to pay their respects to Annamarie Tromp, the preschool teacher who was killed in a car accident in Flushing New Year’s Eve. Comment.
Far Rockaway

PS 106 principal should be let go: Report

City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) called on the city Department of Education to fire the principal of Far Rockaway’s PS 106 after a city investigation concluded the school administrator cashed a full pay check while frequently showing up to work either late or not at all. Comment.
Long Island City

Planned Parenthood offers training to Queens non-profits

Planned Parenthood has made its foray into Queens with help from South Asian Youth Action, Sunnyside Community Services and Queens Library. Comments (3).
Hollis Hills

Hollis Hills quiz kid makes Jeopardy! debut

This college student who grew up in Queens fulfilled a lifelong quiz-show dream when she appeared on “Jeopardy!” earlier this week. Comment.

Avonte death should teach schools

Our grief over Avonte Oquendo’s death is compounded by the knowledge that it might have been prevented. The danger of kids running out of school cannot be eliminated but must be minimized. Comments (1).

St. Mary’s program for tots ending due to lack of funds

St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children has announced that it will end its more than 20-year-old Early Intervention program this spring due to a lack of adequate funding. Comment.

Teachers need new contract now

The teachers who teach in city public schools have been without a new contract for more than four years. Comments (2).

PS 213 students learn about cultures around the world

Students at PS 213 in Oakland Gardens danced around the globe Tuesday during the school’s annual International Fair, celebrating cultures and traditions from many different countries. Comment.
Forest Hills

Katz makes her pick for city schools panel

Borough President Melinda Katz made her appointment to the city’s education panel during a week when it seemed everyone was talking about schools. Comment.

Monied interests demonize unions

Radio ads and billboards will proclaim just about any message that has been paid for. The placement, whether in a public square or on the airwaves, is like a rented body from an escort service. Industrial psychologists are hired by the ad’s bank rollers and function like wardrobe provocateurs. They calculate how to appeal to fantasy and what will work. Comment.

Queens College makes list of best value U.S. schools

Queens College has been deemed one of the best value schools in the country by The Princeton Review. Comments (1).

Queens College TV studio gets overdue $1.5 million face-lift

Queens College is set to give its TV studio a long-overdue $1.5 million renovation. Comment.
Jamaica Estates

SJU says students, alumni happy with brand changes

St. John’s University says students and staff have reacted positively to the school’s decision to return to a former university brand that included changes to the school logo and nickname. Comment.

De Blasio spars with guv over how to pay for pre-K

Queens public schools met less than a quarter of the demand for pre-kindergarten last year, with more than 26,000 applicants for fewer than 6,000 available seats. Comment.

Justice for Avonte

The city Department of Education must be held accountable for the death of Avonte Oquendo, who vanished from a special ed program at a Long Island City school without a trace in October until his remains washed up on College Point shores last week. Comments (7).

January, 2014

Mayoral Spin Cycle

Mayor should take pre-K offer, seek higher taxes later

Mayor Bill de Blasio has already had a few impressive successes in implementing his agenda during his first 30 days in office. Comment.

Parents oppose DOE plan to bus PS 11 kids to Astoria

When the city Department of Education announced plans for a new annex at Woodside’s PS 11, the news was well-received, but with construction set to begin in June a new problem has arisen: What will they do with the children? Comment.

Dist. 26’s gifted kids can keep slots in JHS

The city Department of Education has agreed to satisfy a request from parents in District 26 that will prevent students from losing their spots in the Gifted and Talented programs. Comments (8).
Forest Hills

Koslowitz cuts ribbon for computer labs in JHS 190

Officials from JHS 190 invited City Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) to see how a $400,000 bond she directed toward computer labs at the school was put to use. Comments (1).

Korean students visit Sacred Heart School

For the past three weeks, Sacred Heart School in Bayside has been home to nine extra students who have been given the opportunity to experience America through the eyes of their peers. Comments (1).
Political Action

De Blasio and Farina should consider trade schools

Public education has always been an important issue in New York City political campaigns. That is especially true in mayoral races. Comments (1).

Bayside school wins award

The students and staff at PS 46 in Bayside know that academic success is not just about getting good grades. Comment.
Richmond Hill

Richmond Hill PTA asks Fariña for help

City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has an open invitation to assess the trailers slated to serve as classrooms for Richmond Hill High School freshmen next fall. Comments (1).

Meng wants holiday for Lunar New Year

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) has renewed a call to make Lunar New Year a school holiday. Comments (2).

Charter schools take public money

Charter schools cannot have it both ways. They should either stop their false claim that they are public schools or stop their false claim that as private entities they are beyond judicial reach. They should step up to the plate and stop dodging state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s financial audit of charters. Comments (1).

Woodside school gets annex to ease crowding

IS 125 in Woodside will finally get some relief for its overcrowding. Comment.

Schools needed but not on Keil land

City Councilman Paul Vallone’s (D-Whitestone) response (“Inform people of school hearing,” Dec. 27-Jan. 2) to my Dec. 6-12 letter “Community deserved say in planned school” was that he has been opposed to the approved primary school on the Keil Bros. property in my section of Bayside all along. I had heard differently. Comments (1).

The time has come for DOE to finally shape up

Which is the biggest number: the total count of stars in the solar system, the sum of grains of sand on all Atlantic Ocean beaches, the dollar deficit of the U.S. economy or the tally of useless re-organizations of the city’s school system since the mayor seized it a dozen years ago? Comments (3).
I Sit and Look Out

Fraternity death of boro pupil was cruel and inhumane

The death from the alleged hazing of an Oakland Gardens student of Baruch College raises many questions. Comments (1).

Gizis takes over as Queens College interim president

As a lifelong researcher and educator, Dr. Evangelos Gizis was ready to stand in as interim president when James Muyskens announced his departure from Queens College. Comments (1).

Farewell Salute

Queens College’s departing president, Dr. James Muyskens was honored during a ceremony at the college Decc. 18. Muyskens is retiring from the Queens College presidency to return to teaching. Comment.

‘Education reformers’ is a misnomer

So-called reformers and certain daily tabloid editorial boards should admit it. They would trust the “wolf of Wall Street” to be the new city schools chancellor rather than accept anyone who has the blessing of the “tainted” teachers union. Comment.

New log cabin lets APEC hold classes outside in winter

Alley Pond Environmental Center’s outdoor classroom has been able to weather its first winter, thanks to a new log cabin. Comments (1).
CNG: Community Newspaper Group