Working to give kids the education they deserve

StudentsFirstNY is New York's leading voice for students who depend on public education for the skills they need to succeed, but who are too often failed by a system that puts special interests, rather than the interests of children, first.

Recent Updates

Public School Parents Give Mayor de Blasio an “F” on School Transparency

New York, NY – More than 200 parents and students gathered on the steps of City Hall today to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio respond to the Freedom of Information requests that StudentsFirstNY has filed on their behalf. The average FOIL request from these parents has been kicked back 16 times. Parents feel their requests for information have been deflected, dodged and denied and they are giving the Mayor a grade of “F” on transparency.

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SFNY Report Finds Mayor de Blasio's PROSE Program Lacks Results and Promised Innovations

New York, NY – Leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY released a report today analyzing Mayor de Blasio’s Progressive Redesign Opportunity for Excellence (PROSE) program which he promised would be the union-backed answer to charter schools. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio boasted, "This is going to be a national model for reform, and one that I think is going to bear fruit very quickly."

Unfortunately for New York City students, a close examination of the program shows that PROSE is neither a national model for reform, nor one that has borne fruit. 

“Despite the rhetoric from Mayor de Blasio, it’s clear that PROSE schools are not as effective as the charters they seek to emulate,” said Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY. “PROSE was billed as the union’s answer to charter schools, but by definition, real innovation means challenging the status quo – something this Mayor is incapable of doing.”

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StudentsFirstNY Statement on Budget Deal that Acknowledges Charter Success


"New York made history by investing in both district and charter schools in a manner that will dramatically assist in educating public school children. Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan, Coalition Leader Klein and Speaker Heastie, New York's children will be one step closer to a brighter future and a stronger education. The increased rental assistance means that charters can invest the resources they were spending on facilities back into classrooms. Charters have been educating kids at 75 cents on the dollar with better outcomes for far too long, and the fact that Albany's leaders are acknowledging that success by working to close the funding gap is greatly appreciated," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

StudentsFirstNY is a grassroots education advocacy organization dedicated to improving public school options throughout New York State.

NYC Parents Launch "Say Yes to the Test" Campaign

Rally at City Hall in Support of Opting In To State Assessments

MARCH 23, 2017
MICHAEL NITZKY, 212 257 4349

(NEW YORK) – More than 100 parents from across New York City came together today to support a city and statewide campaign encouraging parents to have their children take state assessments, which begin next week.

New York City opt-in rates continue to lead the state with over 98 percent participation. At the same time, statewide opt-out rates have flat-lined over the past two years.  This is in part in response to steps the New York State Department of Education and its Board of Regents have taken to improve the quality of the tests themselves as well as quality and timeliness of the information teachers, parents and students receive about student results. Taken together this has helped underscore the value of these critical assessments. 

Today's rally is part of a statewide “Say Yes to the Test” effort that includes similar events in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, a testimonial campaign from parents and leaders airing on Pandora and social media, and ongoing communication efforts.

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StudentsFirstNY and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo Host Panel: "Creating Great School Choices for All Kids"

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(Albany, NY) At the 2017 NY State Association of Black & Puerto Rican Legislators' Annual Conference, StudentsFirstNY teamed up with Assembly Member Marcos Crespo (D-Bronx) to host a panel discussion on how to offer parents great school choices for their children, particularly those living in communities of color. The panel was moderated by NYCAN Executive Director Derrell Bradford and featured elected officials and a diverse panel of education advocates, including:

  • Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, D-Bronx (Co-Sponsor of Panel)

  • Senator Marisol Alcantara, D-Manhattan

  • Senator Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn

  • Assembly Member Michaelle Solages, D-Long Island

  • Assembly Member Victor Pichardo, D-Bronx

  • Assembly Member Nick Perry, D-Brooklyn

  • Assembly Member Robert Rodriguez, D-East Harlem

  • Dr. Jere Hochman, Deputy Education Secretary to Governor Cuomo

  • Tenicka Boyd, Senior Director of Organizing for StudentsFirstNY

  • Charlie King, NYC Co-Chairman of Mercury Public Affairs

  • Au Hogan, Queens Parent and Grandparent and Associate Director of Life Camp

  • Charlene Corbett, a community resource coordinator for community schools P.S. 335 and M.S. 584 in Brooklyn

To view the full the highlights of this robust discussion, click here.


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