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

Poll: As Legislature Debates Cap Lift, New Yorkers Voice Overwhelming Support for Charter Schools

New York–As the state legislature debates Governor Hochul’s plan to lift the cap on charter schools in New York City, a newly released StudentsFirstNY poll of nearly 1,100 likely Democratic primary voters in New York City, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, found overwhelming support for her proposal and public charter schools generally. Among the key findings were:

  • Seventy-eight percent of Black voters, and 81% of Latino voters, believe charters can play a positive role in our school system.
  • Nearly two-thirds of New York City voters - including two-thirds of Black voters and more than three-quarters of Latino voters - want the charter cap lifted.
  • Two-thirds of Latino voters are more likely to support candidates if they support charter schools.
  • Governor Hochul, whose pro-charter position has garnered significant attention, enjoys a 69% favorability rating among Black voters - a higher rating than Congress Member Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Gillibrand, and other notable local elected officials.

Earlier this month, over 1,000 parents rallied outside City Hall to demand Albany raise the cap.

"It’s hard to get New Yorkers to agree on anything. But in crucial districts across the city, the verdict is clear. New Yorkers - especially Black and brown New Yorkers, who have been chronically underserved by our education system - overwhelmingly support parents’ right to choose the right kind of public education for their children,” said Crystal McQueen-Taylor, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY. “As budget negotiations reach a fever pitch, Albany should stay focused on the facts: a cap lift is what parents want, and students deserve.”


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Statement from StudentsFirstNY on Governor Hochul’s Reelection

“Governor Kathy Hochul’s historic victory last night will inspire generations of young people in our state. But her legacy will be more than just serving as the first elected female governor of New York. We know she is the right leader to fight for New York families’ right to a great public education.

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StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Crystal McQueen-Taylor named as a 2022 Power Player in Education by PoliticsNY

Executive Director Crystal McQueen-Taylor is named as one of the 2022 Power Players in Education, published by PoliticsNY and amNY Metro. The annual list highlights influential educators, policymakers, and leaders improving NY education. Crystal is a veteran educator, advocate, and charter school parent with strong knowledge of New York’s school system.

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StudentsFirstNY Welcomes Crystal McQueen-Taylor as Executive Director

Crystal McQueen-Taylor, a veteran educator, advocate, and charter school parent with deep ties to every facet of New York’s school system, will be the next Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY, the group announced today. McQueen-Taylor, who has served as the organization’s Chief Advocacy Officer since 2020, succeeds former Executive Director Jenny Sedlis, who served in the role from 2013-2021. 

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StudentsFirstNY Congratulates David Banks

“David Banks is the leader New York City needs to navigate the historic challenges facing our public schools and to reimagine how we educate our children. His lifelong commitment to improving educational outcomes for low-income students has transformed the lives of countless families and demonstrated his ability to bring best practices to scale. StudentsFirstNY congratulates David Banks on being named Chancellor and we pledge to work with him to help all New York City schoolchildren,” said StudentsFirstNY Chief Advocacy Officer Crystal McQueen-Taylor.


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


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