Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move June 4, 2018

News Site Brooklyn

BP Adams Demands City Increase Reforms To Specialized High School Admissions

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams
Mayor Bill de Blasio

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams demanded that the city increase its reforms to specialized high school admissions last week.

Last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio alongside Chancellor of Schools Richard Carranza announced a new plan to increase diversity at Specialized High Schools (SHS) across the five boroughs. The new reform plan aims to make admissions to New York City’s eight testing SHS fairer and improve diversity.

According to the Mayor’s office, only 10 percent of specialized high school students are Black or Latino, despite making up 70 percent of the City’s overall student population. The two-part plan includes:

        Expanding the Discovery program by 20 percent of seats at each SHS to help more disadvantage students receive an offer. The expansion will include adjusting the eligibility criteria to target students attending high-poverty schools and will take place over a two-year period, beginning with admissions for September 2019. The Discovery program is designed to increase enrollment of low-income students at SHS.  

        Eliminating the use of the single-admissions test over three years. The elimination of the Specialized High Schools Admissions test (SHSAT) would require State legislation. By the end of the elimination, the SHS would reserve seats for top performers at each New York City middle school. When the law is passed, the test would be phased out over a three-year period.

The city’s specialized high schools currently have a have a separate, optional admissions process from the general High School Admissions application for entry. Eight of the Specialized High Schools base admission solely on your score on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT).

“We must replace the admissions model that has SHSAT scores as its sole admissions criterion. I will do whatever I can to support legislative efforts in Albany that implement a new, well-rounded system, inclusive of middle school class rank and state test scores. Still, the City is far from doing all it can to expand diversity in gifted and talented education. The doors to our specialized high schools — the exemplars of our city’s best in public education — must be wide open to every middle school student who showcases top-tier aptitude and academic achievement. These reforms have opened those doors a bit wider, and we must continue to push them further,” said Adams.

Cornegy Announce First-Ever “Neighborhood Pop-Up Court”

City Councilman Robert Cornegy Jr

City Council member Robert Cornegy , Jr.(D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) alongside OATH Commissioner Fidel Del Valle will announce the launch of the first-ever “Neighborhood Pop-Up Court” today.

The NYC Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) is the City’s independent administrative law court where all City agencies file their regulatory and enforcement summonses for hearings.

The Neighborhood Pop-Up Courts is a brand new initiative offered by OATH that makes it possible for people to have their hearing with an OATH Hearing Officer without them having to leave the neighborhood where they live or operate their business.

Last year, OATH received approximately 850,000 summonses from the City’s various enforcement agencies.  On average, 44% of summonses that were fought at OATH hearings were dismissed by OATH Hearing Officers last year.

The event is slated for 11 a.m., today, June 4, at Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza (facing Fulton Street) in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The Pop-Up Court will be open Friday, June 8th, at Cornegy’s District Office, at 1360 Fulton Street, Suite 500 in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Donovan Fights To Keep Critical Services At BK VA Hospital

Congressman Dan Donovan

Congressman Dan Donovan (R-South Brooklyn, Staten Island) gathered alongside local veterans and advocates last week to demand that the Brooklyn VA Medical Center (VAMC) reverse a decision to shutter its ear, nose, and throat (ENT) Clinic.

Last Friday, joined by the NYC Veterans Alliance, Donovan argued that the closure will force veterans who need ENT services to travel to the Manhattan or Bronx VAMC, causing hardships, particularly for the elderly and disabled, who face long and difficult commutes to locations outside of the borough. Many opponents also believe the closure could lead to an outpatient only clinic or condos, according to the Brooklyn Reporter.  

According to the South Brooklyn lawmaker, the decision to close the ENT Clinic was based on the VA’s lack of ability to fill open job positions. Additionally, Donovan sent a letter to the Acting Secretary of the VA, Peter O’Rourke, requesting that the ENT Clinic immediately be reopened and inquiring about the steps being taken to address staffing vacancies.

“Our veterans have sacrificed to protect the freedoms we enjoy each day, and ensuring that they have access to the services they earned is the least we can do to try and repay the enormous debt we owe them. Closing the ENT Clinic at the Brooklyn VA Medical Center is unacceptable, and I won’t stop working until this decision is reversed. Those who answered our nation’s call of duty deserve to know that they will be taken care of,” said Donovan.

Hamilton Announces $185,000 in Immigrant Assistance Funding

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton

State Senator Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) announced funding last week for three immigrant advocacy groups which are part of the Immigrant Defense Coalition.

On Thursday, Hamilton announced $185,000 in new funding for The Immigrant Justice Corps, Mobilization for Justice and The Black Institute as part of his “Sanctuary Senate District” initiative launched back in 2017.

The three organizations benefiting from the funds provide: direct legal services to immigrants, including assisting with paperwork and dispensing legal advice; raise immigrant awareness through workshops and campaigns, including through the “Know Your Rights” initiative, that educates immigrant communities about rights and resources available to them.

The Immigrant Defense Coalition was launched in 2017 by the NY Independent Democratic Conference, in response to the Trump administration’s anti-immigrations actions, and provides an emergency hotline and partnerships with immigrant groups that offer services in district offices all across the state.

“We have to make these investments to protect our immigrant communities right now because the Trump administration is dehumanizing and denigrating our immigrant families, friends and neighbors. The Trump administration is working to divide us from one another. We must resist this pattern of abuses with every fiber of our being. We must stand in solidarity with our immigrant communities. We must all pitch in, face down injustice and uphold our values,” said Hamilton.