We need even more Bed-Stuy charters: Why do some families want to limit options for others?

By Nakeia Porter, a mother of a student at PS 305 in Brooklyn and a parent member of StudentsFirstNY

You don’t know me, but like any parent in New York City, I want the best for my children. So I was frankly shocked when I learned that the Bedford-Stuyvesant Community Education Council, which is supposed to be looking out for the best interest of our kids, is now pushing to keep more charter schools from opening in our community.

I don’t know who these so-called representatives are, or why they’re fighting so hard to prevent my kids from attending quality schools, but I know for sure that they don’t speak for me. I have a simple message for the council, one I hope that Chancellor Carmen Fariña — who visits the neighborhood for a town hall meeting on Monday — hears loud and clear: nobody has a right to limit options for students in Bed-Stuy.

Read the full oped in the New York Daily News.


How New York’s School System Can Best Serve Communities of Color

Au Hogan is a public school parent and grandparent from Jamaica, Queens

Growing up in Jamaica, Queens, I never dreamed that one day I’d be sitting on a panel inside the New York State Capitol building, alongside some of the most prominent education reform leaders in the country. But like a lot of other parents, my children have sparked me to get involved — because I can’t stand to watch another generation of kids trapped in struggling schools with no hope for real opportunity.

Read the full oped on Medium.


The real state of the city's schools: Mayor de Blasio doesn't understand what parents in the system really want and need

Tenicka Boyd is the senior director of organizing at StudentsFirstNY and the mother of a student at PS 321 in Brooklyn

Thursday night, Mayor de Blasio will be sharing his take on the state of our city, highlighting what he claims are improvements across the five boroughs. But for many families living in neighborhoods with struggling schools, the state of our city is anything but strong. These families deserve a mayor who will put their children first, and do the hard work to turn around our failing school system. Their stories paint the real picture of the state of our city.

Chronic failure continues. Gideon Gabbidor’s 19-year-old son is one of the students who has stayed at the chronically failing Boys & Girls; he will graduate this June. Gabbidor heard the mayor promise to turn the school around, but there haven’t been any improvements in his son’s classes over that time.

Read the full oped in the New York Daily News.


Budget Committee Testimony by Parent and StudentsFirstNY Organizer Asia Thomas

The following is testimony submitted by StudentsFirstNY Organizer Asia Thomas to the Joint Budget Hearing on Elementary & Secondary Education: 

Good afternoon, Chairwoman Young, Chairman Farrell, Education Committee Chairs Marcellino and Nolan. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Executive Budget proposal for state fiscal year (SFY) 2016-2017. I appreciate all the work that you and your colleagues do on behalf of New Yorkers.

I am submitting my testimony today because I want you to understand how the decisions you make in Albany impact real people in their everyday lives. The Governor has advanced sensible proposals in his Executive budget that would expand school choice for parents and students by guaranteeing that public charter schools in New York City have access to space and increased financial support. Some have come out to oppose the Governor’s proposals, but I will tell you that it is wrong to cheat public charter school kids out of the resources given to district school kids. All public schools deserve adequate space and equal funding. It’s time to stop treating charter schools inequitably.

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For 14 Months Now, I’ve Begged NYC to Help My Son’s Failing School — and No One Will Listen

Jonathan Rudolph is the parent of a student who attends P.S. 289 in New York City

It’s frustrating to listen to Chancellor Carmen Farina talk about the state of New York City public schools, because the school system she talks about in press conferences is so far removed from the reality that so many kids face every day.

My son attends P.S. 289 in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a chronically struggling school where just one in four children are passing the state’s math and English Language Arts proficiency tests. I constantly worry about his academic needs — the school’s curriculum, the lack of accountability within the classrooms, the poor quality of his teachers and the ongoing need for additional instruction time for his struggling classmates. I’m not alone in my concerns that the children in my community are not receiving a quality education. In fact, a group of P.S. 289 parents have come together to demand change.

Read the full oped in The 74.


Parents Tell New York State Leaders #AllKidsCan

On January 12, 2016, hundreds of parent advocates from StudentsFirstNY traveled to the State Capitol in Albany to call for better school options for their children.

Watch the video below, take look at some photos from the trip, and then join these parents at


Statement: StudentsFirstNY Questions the IBO Analysis of NYC School Closures

"The report released by the IBO implies that students left behind in failing schools as they phase out are harmed, but the findings contradict those of the Research Alliance which released a similar study in November using a more robust sample of schools (the IBO study looked at 6 schools while the Research Alliance analyzed results from 29 schools). Most notably, the IBO only looked at students who remained enrolled in schools while they phased out, not those who benefited from being able to attend new small schools. What's more important to consider is the effect of a closure on future students, which the Research Alliance did," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.


Michael Nitzky


StudentsFirstNY Director of Organizing Tenicka Boyd Shares Who She Is #ThankfulFor This Year

I have the privilege of working with a terrific team at StudentsFirstNY, which includes more than a dozen dedicated organizers who work with thousands of parents across New York City. In advance of Thanksgiving tomorrow, I wanted to take a moment to share a couple of the people who I am #ThankfulFor this year. These folks have inspired me, and they make the work we do to advance a quality education for all students possible.

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StudentsFirstNY Parents Chapter Members Highlight the People Who They Are #ThankfulFor

The parent members of our community chapters across the city are the heart of our work. These families work to ensure their children, and students across New York City, have access to excellent, equitable education.

In the latest part of our #ThankfulFor series of blog posts, a few of these parents share the people who they are most thankful for, and who have had an impact on their lives. Read their responses below, and explore our first and second posts from a couple of the StudentsFirstNY organizers. 

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SFNY Grade Inflation Report 2015

To hear Mayor Bill de Blasio tell it, New York City’s failing schools are few and far between, and improving quickly. Better yet, New York City’s students are passing their math, science, social studies, and English courses with flying colors. In reality, hundreds of schools – and the majority of students – are failing state tests, a truth that is masked by rampant grade inflation within NYC Schools. This report reveals that schools across the city are misleading parents by giving students high marks on school coursework even though the students are performing below grade level. The vast majority of students are passing their classroom work while failing state tests. The findings of this analysis underscore why state test results play a critical check and balance function – it’s only by reviewing both school coursework and state test results that parents have the full picture of how their children are performing. To address this across-the-board grade inflation, StudentsFirstNY is calling for an independent audit of school coursework in NYC public schools to ensure that it is on grade level.

Read the new report, The Hidden Truth: Massive Grade Inflation Conceals Underperformance in NYC Schools.

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