More than 500 district school parent members from StudentsFirstNY turned out today to support the #DONTSTEALPOSSIBLE campaign led by the Coalition for Education Equality and Families for Excellent Schools.
"StudentsFirstNY and our 13,000 district parent members are proud to stand with parents from across the city to demand great schools now," said Jenny Sedlis, StudentsFirstNY Executive Director.
With 13,000 active district parent members across 16 chapters, StudentsFirstNY is the largest grassroots organization devoted to improving traditional public schools in NY. StudentsFirstNY was created to give parents a greater voice in order to bring about changes that improve public schools.
"What we hear from parents day-in and day-out is that they want their children to have access to opportunity and that the system is failing them," said Tenicka Boyd, Director of Organizing for StudentsFirstNY.
"My grandson Dre's future is being stolen by a school system that is not educating him and I'm here today to shout from the rooftops that all children should have access to a school where reaching their full potential is possible," said Au Hogan, a StudentsFirstNY parent member from Jamaica, Queens who is speaking in the rally program.
The #DONTSTEALPOSSIBLE rally comes one day after Chancellor Farina's disappointing announcement to remove letter grades from school progress reports cheating parents out of clear objective measures of school quality.
"Facing increased pressure from parents and reform advocates to improve struggling schools, Chancellor Farina responded with a disappointing, over-hyped, political stunt that won't address the failing schools crisis," Sedlis said.
At the rally, other StudentsFirstNY parents members expressed similar frustration with the direction Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina are taking our schools.
"Mayor de Blasio and his chancellor claim things are getting better, but what about the tens of thousands of kids trapped in failing schools? The teachers contract shortened the school day and I have yet to hear of any big solutions. I'm here today to say to elected officials – Don't Stop Possible! My grandchildren deserve bright futures," said StudentsFirstNY member Anyta Brown and grandmother of seven who is speaking at the press conference following the rally.
"I'm here today because I believe in my children and I believe in the children from communities like mine. I know from first hand experience that our kids can't wait. Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina, we need great schools with great teachers today. Don't let another child slip through the cracks. Let's stand up together and say anything is possible if we give our kids the education they deserve," said StudentsFirstNY member Keoni Wright and father of five who is speaking at the press conference following the rally.
"I'm attending this rally today because we need excellent teachers in our schools. I'm very hurt that this current system keeps failing, we need change, and we need quality teachers now," said StudentsFirstNY member Sandra DeJesus and grandmother of two who is speaking at the press conference following the rally.
The strong rally turnout comes on the heels of an important milestone for organization's organizing effort. Just recently StudentsFirstNY's completed its 100,000th home visit with parents from traditional public schools where organizers listen to parent concerns about school quality and train them to become advocates and community leaders.