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Parents, grandparents and teachers in East Brooklyn are demanding better science facilities and materials for local school children. The Brooklyn Education Collaborative (BEC) emerged in February 2004 with a broad vision to improve learning conditions in Districts 18, 19, and 23, where less than 50 percent of students graduate. Last June, following a preliminary BEC survey that revealed inequities within the districts in the type of facilities and course work available, BEC petitioned the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to provide $340,000 to purchase science equipment and create fully stocked “science rooms.” According to BEC, 17 of the 33 of schools surveyed in Brooklyn lack science labs while 26 do not offer Regents-level science courses. “We’re fighting for the academic future of these children and trying to eliminate the gap in equity,” said T. Thaddeus Brown, a BEC parent member. Although BEC leaders had hoped that DOE Chancellor Joel Klein would announce his decision last Tuesday as to whether the funding request would be granted, negotiations are still ongoing at press time. Regardless of the outcome, BEC plans to rally at P.S. 156 in Brownsville on Wed. (M. Herbert) [10/31/05]

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