Crown Heights Parents Join StudentsFirstNY to Demand D.O.E Take Action and Fix P.S. 289

Open Letter to Chancellor Fariña Details Parents’ Requests

(Crown Heights, Brooklyn) Parents of students from P.S. 289 George V. Brower School teamed with leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY to release a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña calling for the Department of Education to step in and facilitate change at the Crown Heights elementary school.

“For years, P.S. 289 has come up short in providing children with a quality education,” said Shannon Hayes, P.S. 289 Parent. “That has to change and the city needs to step up immediately.”

Parents at the school have dealt with ineffective teachers on a regular basis.  One child had a teacher who cursed and mistreated him. When Ida Brown, the boy’s grandmother, attempted to engage the school, they were ignored by the administration. Ms. Brown tried to speak with the school’s PTA, but they refused to let her address their meeting. She even tried to speak with the school superintendent, but Clarence Ellis, the superintendent for District 17 in Brooklyn never returned Ms. Brown’s call.

“The teachers and administration at P.S. 289 have failed my grandchild,” said Ida Brown.  “Chancellor Fariña cannot allow this school to come up short when kids futures are on the line.”

Parents have also cited numerous problems with bullying in the school and a lack of professionalism by teachers and staff.  Manasseh Sobers is a former student at P.S. 289 and is now the guardian of his nephew who attends the school. The child has been repeatedly bullied and physically assaulted, but when Mr. Sobers tried to contact the school, they failed to respond. Mr. Sobers also tried to engage with the teacher about the child’s poor grades and the teacher refused to engage and told him to “shut up.” 

“If the D.O.E. is serious about improving struggling schools, they need to fix the problems at P.S. 289,” said StudentsFirstNY senior organizer Darlene Boston. “When students routinely fail state math and English tests, something needs to change in how they’re taught. They deserve a quality education from quality teachers.”


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

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