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Year in Review: Lawmakers push for safer schools; Queens College ranks among nation’s best
Two Queens lawmakers are asking the DOE to reconsider a policy that prohibits staff from locking front doors of schools.
By Carlotta Mohamed

As 2018 comes to an end, there were a number of school openings and closings in Queens, as well as elected officials advocating for changes in the education sector.

Here are the top three education stories that made the headlines this year:

Queens College named among best colleges

At the forefront for best of 2018 in Education, Queens College was named one of the nation’s best colleges by the U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 Best Colleges edition.

Queens College – located at 65-30 Kissena Blvd in Flushing – ranked 14th out of the 47 schools on a list that featured several City University of New York institutions.

The 81-year-old public college has more than 100 majors and career-building programs in the arts, humanities, education, mathematics, natural sciences and social sciences, according to U.S. News.

Queens College provides affordable tuition rates, more than 100 clubs and inexpensive day care services for students with children and a weekend college.

In 2017, approximately 400 Queens College students were eligible for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship, which provides free public college tuition for in-state students whose families earn below $100,000.

In 2014, the school was also featured in the Washington Monthly, a bimonthly nonprofit magazine, which ranked it second out of 386 schools for its “Best-Bang-For-The-Buck college after analyzing 1,540 universities.

Queens College has also been featured in U.S. News & World Report’s lists for Best Value Schools, Best Undergraduate Teaching program, Best Colleges for Veterans, and best Regional Universities North.

Far Rockaway native plans to open charter school in 2019

As schools in Far Rockaway were set to close their doors, one local resident was determined to open a charter high school in fall 2019.

Regina Glover had announced her plans for Legacy Academy on New Year’s Eve with the hopes of revitalizing urban education in the Far Rockaway area with a comprehensive program.

Grover’s Legacy Academy will include classes in geometry, U.S. history, physics, and English to prepare students for careers in carpentry, lobbying, mechanical engineering and investigative journalism.

“Education is so much more than math and reading,” Johnson said. “Local issues, culture, artistic expression, and experiences are elements that must be incorporated into student’s academic plan.”

Bayside elected officials propose locking school doors

After the devastating Parkland, Fla. shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in February, two Bayside elected officials were proposing locking school doors.

City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) and State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein (D-Bayside) said the city Department of Education policy keeping front doors unlocked is a safety issue.

The lawmakers had said the DOE’s open door policy allows an individual to enter the building before a determination can be made if they represent a danger or not.

Braunstein said granting public school principals the authority to confirm whether or not an individual represents a threat before allowing them into the school could prevent a dangerous incident from taking place.

Vallone had cited an incident where a suspicious man had entered PS 184 in Whitestone multiple times and was escorted by security, calling it “Exhibit A” for why the DOE should rethink its policy.

Vallone said the request is just the first step in a series of changes that must be made.

“This must remain a top priority from here on out as we lead the charge for safety in our schools,” said Vallone.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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