New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos


Overcrowding in East Side public schools threatens to deny a generation of children their constitutional right to a "<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>sound basic education.</strong></a>" We must make more school seats available now, build more schools to keep up with current development, and investigate new solutions for building educational infrastructure.<br><br>I have a strong commitment to public education that stems from being a graduate of the&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Bronx High School of Science</strong></a>, State University of New York's&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>University at Albany</strong></a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>University at Buffalo Law School</strong></a>. I helped create Community Board 8’s Youth and Education Committee, identified a&nbsp;<a href="; target="_BLANK"><strong>Free Yellow Bus Program</strong></a>&nbsp;for local youth service providers, and created an internship program to better serve the youth and education needs of our community. As your Council member I will continue to fight for increased funding for youth services and education.

Bloomberg NYC Plans Citywide Expansion of Free Preschool for 3-Year-Olds by Henry Goldman

NYC Plans Citywide Expansion of Free Preschool for 3-Year-Olds

The service is worth about $10,000 to the average family, according to new Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. The stimulus-relief package made the expansion possible, according to the mayor.

“That’s quite a legacy that will be felt by countless families,” said Ben Kallos, a Democratic councilman representing Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where he said preschool spots typically cost $30,000 a year.

Upper East Side Patch NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says by Matt Troutman

NYC 3-K Will Go Free Citywide In September, De Blasio Says

A cavalcade of City Council members who've long pushed for universal 3-K joined de Blasio and Porter. Council Member Ben Kallos noted he has a 3-year-old daughter himself and said his family will be applying for the program.

"Mayor de Blasio, I've been asking for this for so many years, what will we talk about?" Kallos said.

De Blasio said the ultimate goal for the program is about 60,000 slots for children.


Announcing 3K for All Expansion in 2021 and Commitment to Assist with Rollout from Council Member Ben Kallos

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

“My daughter is 3 years old, and 3K for All is a lifeline that will make it easier for countless families like mine to stay in New York City and thrive.

“After this pandemic forced our children into isolation for a year, New York City parents will be relying on 3K for All to help our children catch up.

“Child care on the Upper East Side starts at $30,000 and that’s if you can get a seat. Few can afford this and it’s forcing families out, even before the pandemic.

“3K for All is a game changer, giving every child the fair start that they deserve.

“Countless families including mine are breathing a sigh of relief with today’s announcement.

“I know I’ve been persistent about getting UPK and now 3K rolled out, but this was too important for our children’s future to leave it up to the next administration.

“I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio for staying true to his word in making Universal Pre-Kindergarten a reality and now 3K for All by 2021. When it is safe to do so I am giving the Mayor a hug.

New York Post NYC families say DOE dropped French dual-language program at last minute by Selim Algar

NYC families say DOE dropped French dual-language program at last minute

City Councilman Ben Kallos, who also pushed for the program, called for its reinstatement.

“The faster we bring the program to more francophone families that need it, the better off the children will be,” he said.

Gotham Gazette A Universal Internet Guarantee to Bridge the Digital Divide for Every New Yorker by Ben Kallos and Eric Adams

A Universal Internet Guarantee to Bridge the Digital Divide for Every New Yorker

A plan for internet access at school and home (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

The coronavirus pandemic has shown all of us the importance of a reliable high-speed home internet connection, whether for remote learning and working from home or for gathering virtually with loved ones. There is a common cliché that “the virus doesn’t discriminate,” but the reality is that coronavirus disproportionately harms low-income communities of color impacted by systemic racism in government and the private sector.

With many households in these communities lacking high-speed internet, the shift to social distancing has been particularly challenging. As we prepare for a second wave, or for the next virus, we must rebuild our society with the guarantee of universal broadband—finally treating the internet as a utility like phone service or electricity. We must use all of New York City’s local regulatory power to deliver on the promise of universal broadband by establishing a Universal Internet Guarantee.

Mayor de Blasio recently took a step in the right direction when he announced $157 million in funding to expand broadband internet access to 600,000 underserved New Yorkers, including 200,000 public housing residents. But New York City’s public housing authority (NYCHA) has 173,762 public housing units, home to 381,159 authorized residents, and this plan could still leave half without internet. More than 1.5 million New Yorkers do not have broadband, and this plan would leave nearly 1 million of them on the wrong side of the ‘digital divide.’

To deliver truly universal broadband, we need several fixes at once. We could start with rezoning to require affordable Mandatory Inclusionary Internet, just like we required affordable housing with Mandatory Inclusionary Housing. We could create incentives for 5G providers to offer affordable access. We can require cable providers to expand affordable internet offerings we already won to every single low-income New Yorker. And if the providers won’t do it, we can take over their networks and do it ourselves by establishing a municipal broadband network.

We can upgrade existing infrastructure by speeding along the conversion of old payphones into free internet kiosks and add WiFi to bus stops. We can even open up the city government’s wireless network to the public.

The pandemic has shown us the importance of giving every public school student who needs one a laptop and affordable broadband in the home to eliminate the ‘homework gap’ (that became a ‘schoolwork gap’ during the pandemic) and give a whole new generation a real chance at equity. Where all else fails, for those we still haven’t reached in low-income communities of color, we must invest the millions promised by the mayor in businesses owned and operated by women and people of color to spur innovation and connect every last New Yorker.

In partnership together, with an eye toward each of our roles in the city’s franchising, we have authored a report that focuses on some of the most important aspects of the digital divide and proposed solutions to help close it and bring us closer to the equitable New York City we need to move toward immediately.

Read the full report here.

Eric Adams is the Brooklyn Borough President and has a vote on internet franchises through the FCRC. Ben Kallos is a New York City Council Member with a vote on internet franchise authorizations in the City Council. On Twitter @BKBoroHall & @BenKallos.

Voice of America Community Centers, Museums Become Schools by John Russell

Community Centers, Museums Become Schools

In New York City, Council Member Ben Kallos pushed for unused stores and buildings to be used as classrooms, along with libraries and senior centers. But the idea did not go far because of concerns about laws, costs and other issues.

Kallos said that New York had many empty stores before the health crisis. That problem has only gotten worse.

“It seems only natural that the city could have activated each and every one of these spaces to serve our children in this time of need. It is disappointing and …. irresponsible that the city didn’t do it,” Kallos said.

New York Post NYC will try using school buses to give Wi-Fi to students in homeless shelters by Susan Edelman

NYC will try using school buses to give Wi-Fi to students in homeless shelters

After ignoring an offer from school bus companies for months, the city will finally explore whether the vehicles can be used to deliver Wi-Fi to students living in homeless shelters who can’t connect to online classes, officials told The Post.


Mayor de Blasio has committed to a long-term plan to provide Wi-Fi service in all apartments in existing and planned homeless shelters that serve families with children But that project is complicated because many shelters lack cables. Completion is not expected until summer — after the current school year ends.

Councilman Ben Kallos suggested hooking up Wi-Fi to TV cables in a shelter’s common area, but officials say the COVID-19 crisis raises health and safety concerns.

Upper East Side Patch Desperate Roosevelt Island Parents Ask City For Childcare Help by Nick Garber

Desperate Roosevelt Island Parents Ask City For Childcare Help

UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — Parents pleaded with the city on Sunday to expand its citywide remote learning center program to Roosevelt Island, where families have struggled to care for children attending class from home.

The city's Learning Bridges program, rolled out in September, is intended to allow parents to drop off their children at one of dozens of sites around the city on days when students are scheduled for remote learning, rather than in-person class.

Roosevelt Island, though, was not approved for a Learning Bridges site by the city's Department of Youth and Community Development — even though the applicant, the childcare center Island Kids, is "an institution" with a devoted following of families, according to City Councilmember Ben Kallos, who represents the island.

TAPinto Roosevelt Island Parents Rally Virtually for Remote Learning Center by Marc Bussanich

Roosevelt Island Parents Rally Virtually for Remote Learning Center

New York, NY—Families of students who attend P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island have no option on the island to send their children to a remote learning center because a long-standing childcare provider that applied to provide 45 seats was denied by the city. That’s why they joined a virtual rally earlier today with elected officials to ask the city to reconsider.


Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) hosted the rally, as he has been a leading advocate for expanding the number Learning Bridges seats. In fact, he wrote a letter to the Mayor first proposing the idea of remote learning centers for families who needed child care while students were learning remotely.