New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

New York Post

New York Post How NYC could make remote learning into a winner for many kids by Editorial Board

How NYC could make remote learning into a winner for many kids

Remote learning has been a near-disaster for city school kids, but City Councilmen Ben Kallos and Robert Cornegy hope it can bring at least one plus.

The lawmakers want the city to expand its Gifted & Talented program online, letting more kids take advantage of the higher-speed, more intense instruction.

Limited funds and space have long left the city unable to offer G&T classes to all who can benefit. But online learning doesn’t require more classroom space, and may be cheaper per student than in-person teaching.

New York Post Powerful NYC Democrat demands Board of Elections overhaul after ‘total collapse’ by Nolan Hicks Bernadette Hogan

Powerful NYC Democrat demands Board of Elections overhaul after ‘total collapse’

Thousands of New Yorkers were forced to go to the polls after not receiving their requested ballots, while thousands of more votes were discarded because the Post Office failed to postmark them or because voters failed to sign the correct portion of a confusingly-designed ballot envelope.

“It is the party chairs for the Democratic and Republican Parties that have filled the Board of Elections with patronage to the point where it can no longer function,” said Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), who sits on the committee that oversees the embattled state-sanctioned agency.

“The party hacks rule and it has to end,” Kallos said. “They think there’s nothing anyone can do about it and it has to end.”

The City Board of Elections claimed that it has an “excellent working relationship” with its state regulators and that the Kellner snub was nothing more than a scheduling conflict.

New York Post NYC pols call for a ‘desegregated’ remote-learning format by Selim Algar

NYC pols call for a ‘desegregated’ remote-learning format

A pair of City Council members is urging the de Blasio administration to use remote learning to better “desegregate” the district — including by offering more gifted and talented programs.

In a letter to schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday, Councilmen Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) and Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) said online instruction frees the district up from building space and cost restraints.

That means remote learning can be molded to suit individual student needs — and even offer G&T-level instruction for kids in areas that don’t have the coveted programs, the pols said.

“The virtual schools within this new district would be organized around learning style, enrichment, and even common interest,” the letter stated. “Enrichment programs like Gifted and Talented or those tailored to specific interests and remote-learning styles could finally be offered to every student who qualified.”

Cornegy and Kallos argued in their letter that educational opportunity is distributed unevenly across the city — often on racial and socio-economic lines — and that remote learning can help to address that imbalance.

New York Post NYPD barricades have turned Gracie Mansion into de Blasio’s fortress, neighbors say by Sara Dorn

NYPD barricades have turned Gracie Mansion into de Blasio’s fortress, neighbors say

Councilman Ben Kallos, who represents Yorkville, said his office has received “dozens” of complaints about the barricades.

“Families who didn’t abandon our city, families who stayed, feel frustrated they don’t have anywhere they can go because Gracie has barricaded off an acre of our limited parkland. Families stop me in the streets, people in my building complain to me, we get phone calls, we get emails. People just don’t understand why the mayor is doing this,” he said.

A map showing Gracie Mansion/Carl Schurz Park closed to the public.Benjamin Kallos

“Gracie Mansion is already fortified. They have already increased the height of the fences,” Kallos said, referring to the 4-foot addition his fellow Democrat erected in 2014 for “privacy” reasons

New York Post DOE still has no plan to fill nursing shortage ahead of school reopenings by Sara Dorn

DOE still has no plan to fill nursing shortage ahead of school reopenings

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New York City parents are raising alarms about the school nursing shortage as students prepare to return to classrooms in the fall — and the Department of Education still has no plan on how to fill the 400-nurse gap.

Nurses, parents and educators have complained for years that inadequate pay and increased medical needs of students are driving nurses away from DOE jobs. Last year, the shortage reached “crisis level” when dozens of school buildings were without a nurse on a typical day.

Now the issue is more urgent as parents and educators grapple with decisions on how to keep 1.1 million city students safe during a pandemic.

Parents at one Upper East Side school say the rotating nurses they had last year just won’t cut it now, and they’re demanding Chancellor Richard Carranza assign a designated, full-time staffer.

“The unique demands and challenges of re-opening during the global COVID-19 health crisis necessitate a different approach: we need a permanent nurse,” PS 290 parents insisted in a petition to Carranza that has drawn more than 500 signatures. 

On some days last year, “a temporary nurse was unavailable, which meant no nurse was present that day. The school was then forced to take extra steps in order to ensure the safety of the children with any health conditions,” the petition says.

The 82nd Street school is attended by about 500 K thru fifth-graders.

Mayor de Blasio announced a school reopening model Friday that was widely seen as light on details. He failed to mandate testing for teachers — and ignored the nursing issue altogether. 

Councilman Ben KallosStefan Jeremiah

“We’re really dealing with … imperfect solutions,’’ he told reporters in a conference call.

The DOE said Friday it was considering hiring more nurses and medical staff for the coming school year. 

“The health of our students and staff is our first priority for this upcoming school year, and nurses will play a critical role in supporting our schools. We understand where these parents are coming from, and are exploring several avenues to providing the necessary nursing

New York Post NYC school reopening plan doesn’t explain how to keep kids safe, lawmakers argue by Julia Marsh, Bernadette Hogan

NYC school reopening plan doesn’t explain how to keep kids safe, lawmakers argue

The city’s plan to reopen public schools this September does not provide enough specifics on how to keep students, teachers and staff safe, city and state elected officials said Friday.

“We need a plan for how to open schools, not more information on how to close them,” Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan) said about the details laid out hours earlier by Mayor de Blasio and Dept. of Education Chancellor Richard Carranza.

De Blasio announced a “blended approach” of in-class and online teaching as long as the city’s daily positive-test rate for the coronavirus stays under 3 percent. It is currently at 1 percent.

The mayor and chancellor also explained protocols for the quarantine of students and temporary closures of individual buildings if someone at the school test positive for the virus.

But Kallos, a member of the council’s education committee, said that he and other public school parents are looking for something else.

New York Post Mayor de Blasio’s childcare plan is far from enough: councilmen by Susan Edelman

Mayor de Blasio’s childcare plan is far from enough: councilmen

Mayor de Blasio’s plan to provide child-care for 100,000 public-school students falls far short of the need, two City Councilmen say.

At least four times as many seats are needed to help parents grapple with the Department of Education’s patchwork plans to mix in-school and remote learning, Councilmen Ben Kallos and Brad Lander say in a letter to de Blasio obtained by The Post.

The lawmakers first proposed a child-care program two weeks ago. The mayor took up the idea, but “is doing it wrong,” Kallos said.

“More than 800,000 children from 3-K through 8th grade attend New York City’s public schools,” says the letter, also addressed to Chancellor Richard Carranza.

New York Post NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors by Julia Marsh, Nolan Hicks

NYPD faces first major budget cut in decades amid ‘perfect storm’ of factors

The NYPD is facing its first budget cut in at least two decades — thanks to a “perfect storm” of events including “dire economic circumstances,” fallout from the George Floyd killing and calls for reform from the progressive wing of the City Council, experts and insiders said.

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Meanwhile, the City Council’s 21-member progressive caucus is meeting with criminal justice reformers who want $1 billion in cuts this year to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget as a response to charges of police misconduct.

“Many members of the progressive caucus have already come out in favor of #Defund NYPD and we will be taking a formal position as a caucus shortly,” said Ben Kallos (D-Manhattan), the group’s chair co-chair.

New York Post NYC leaders slam de Blasio plan to cut frontline workers, suggest slashing ThriveNYC instead by Julia Marsh

NYC leaders slam de Blasio plan to cut frontline workers, suggest slashing ThriveNYC instead

 

“We’re very concerned even more so now about mental health especially regarding our students who have been through a sort of traumatic once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Deputy Budget Director Kenneth Godiner replied.

“Can we cut our bloated contracts?” Manhattan Democrat Ben Kallos asked Godiner.

Godiner promised to look at the issue.

De Blasio defended ThriveNYC during his press briefing, saying he disagreed with Stringer’s assessment that it wasn’t making an impact.

“Anything that’s about health and safety is a priority whether it’s about physical health or mental health,” he said.
A mayoral spokeswoman defended ThriveNYC’s annual budget of about $250 million a year for four years, and instead detailed planned cuts to mental health consultants in schools as well as delays to mobile treatment teams and crisis response teams.

New York Post DOE’s $269M iPad deal for remote learning is a ‘waste of money,’ says lawmaker by Susan Edelman

DOE’s $269M iPad deal for remote learning is a ‘waste of money,’ says lawmaker

 

The total cost: $269,187,271, the DOE said. The department will seek federal reimbursement, it added.

At least one lawmaker, City Councilman Ben Kallos, said the DOE “got a bad deal,” because laptops are not only much cheaper than iPads but better for schoolwork.

Enlarge Image“This is such a waste of money,” he told the Post.

DOE spokeswoman Miranda Barbot called it a “cost effective long-term investment in our kids that will be used as an educational tool long after the COVID crisis passes.”

The iPads are being “loaned” to kids, not given for free. A tracking device is installed in case kids do not return them.

Barbot said the DOE chose iPads because Apple could commit to producing devices on a large scale in a short time frame and give students connectivity without WiFi.