School Equality Rally Brooklyn

The turnout for Wednesday’s “Stand for School Equality” rally was impressive — more than 15,000 students, parents and teachers gathered in Cadman Plaza and marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall, calling for measures to address the inequality in NYC’s public school system.

Ostensibly a fight against unequal schools, the purpose of Wednesday’s rally would more accurately be described as promoting charter schools.


Borough President Adams Brooklyn School Donation

Borough President Adams announced a $13,314,000 investment in Brooklyn schools at Midwood’s Gil Hodges elementary school on Wednesday, September 30.

Focused on improving technology initiatives and STEM education, $250,000 of the donation are allocated to create a multidisciplinary STEM/Technology Exploration/Demonstration Lab at Gil Hodges.


Amplify Lay Off Dumbo

As of 10:30 a.m Wednesday, one of Brooklyn’s biggest tech companies, Amplify Education, has laid of hundreds of its some-1,200 employees.

According to a dismissed employee who spoke to the Observer, Dumbo employees were simply told, “‘we’re letting you go’ in very lawyerly terms.” Amplify, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, has been in negotiations with investors regarding the sale of the failing education technology company since at least early August. (more…)

Downtown Brooklyn Economic Flow

Downtown Brooklyn, a college town?

According to a study conducted by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the neighborhood’s economic flow has been significantly bolstered by activity from its nine higher education institutions.

The nine schools, which are densely packed into the neighborhood, include Pratt Institute, Brooklyn Law School, St. Francis College, and NYU, among others. Carnegie Mellon will bring that number to 10 once it has completed its expansion to the Navy Yard next fall. NYU is planning to further expand into the modernist building at 370 Jay Street.

In 2013 alone, the roughly 60,000 students in attendance at the colleges and graduate programs downtown generated nearly $3 billion in economic activity for the area. The largest portion of the sum came from a calculated $1 billion in labor compensation — a.k.a. jobs — according to the study’s findings.


Final Rezoning DOE P.S. 8

The final rezoning proposal for Dumbo’s P.S. 8 and Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307 is being presented tonight, Wednesday September 30, from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at P.S. 307 at 209 York Street.

DOE representatives from the Office of District Planning will explain any amendments they have made to the proposal based on community reaction, and there will be opportunity for public comment.


Brooklyn School Rezoning PS 307 Dumbo

Controversy over the proposed school rezoning in Dumbo, Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill has grown into a national conversation. Tonight, the Department of Education​ will release its official rezoning proposal to the district’s Community Education Council (CEC). The plan aims to increase the size of the zone for P.S. 307 (pictured above) and decrease it for overcrowded P.S. 8.

But the issues in District 13 encompass more than just these two schools. To get another take, Brownstoner caught up with Rob Underwood — a District 13 parent and CEC member — to hear his perspective on the education needs of the area. No surprise, they’re entangled with the neighborhoods’ new construction.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you care about this school rezoning?
I am an elected member of CEC13 Brooklyn. I will be one of the people voting on the rezoning. I’m also a P.S./M.S. 282 parent (all CEC13 members are District 13 parents and 282 is a D13 school).

Where do you stand on the rezoning? (more…)

Dumbo School Rezoning

A heavily attended town hall meeting Wednesday about the proposed rezoning of P.S. 8 and P.S. 307 turned into an airing of general grievances in regards to gentrification. The meeting, held in the auditorium of P.S. 307, was attended predominantly by concerned parents from the two affected elementary schools, simultaneously representing two halves of a contrasting Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Heights’ P.S. 8 is overcrowded, and its student body is more than 50 percent white. The school’s zone, which includes Dumbo, is one of the largest in Brooklyn — perhaps a holdover from when Dumbo was not very residential. Vinegar Hill’s P.S. 307, which has one of the city’s smallest zones, has room to grow and services mainly black families, including from the Farragut Houses housing project across the street.

Intended as an informational session, the meeting was led by three officials from the Department of Education’s Office of District Planning, the Community Education Council of District 13, and the parent teacher association of P.S. 307.


Brooklyn Elementary School

The halfway house at 104 Gold Street. Photo by Barbara Eldredge

A controversy is unfolding around the proposed rezoning of P.S. 8 and P.S. 307, and one of our readers reminded us of a detail we’d forgotten: A federal halfway house sits just a block from P.S. 307 elementary school.

“DUMBO MUST UNITE,”  the commenter wrote in response to our post about the rezonings. “I don’t want [students] to have to walk past the federal halfway house, where some very violent parolees are living… just to get to school.”

Brownstoner did a little digging, and found that the halfway house at 104 Gold Street is on a federal contract set to expire in 2016, and may not get renewed. To clarify, a federal halfway house is defined as housing for parolees from federal prisons. It will be interesting to see if the proposed rezoning of students from overcrowded, high-performing P.S. 8 to P.S. 307 will cause increased complaints regarding P.S. 307’s vicinity to both the halfway house and the Farragut Houses.