Darlene Boston Shares Why She's #ThankfulFor Councilman Cornegy

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, members of the StudentsFirstNY community are highlighting the people who they are most #ThankfulFor this year. Today StudentsFirstNY organizer Darlene Boston shares why she is inspired by and #ThankfulFor Councilman Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. of New York City’s 36th District. 

(Read the first post here)

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StudentsFirstNY Organizers Share the People They Are #ThankfulFor

As we enter the start of the holiday season, we want to celebrate members our education community. From the families who join together late on a cold night to learn about what they can do to improve their schools to the teachers who commit extra time with a child to help her succeed, there are so many people who have empowered our work to secure a quality education for children everywhere.

We are #ThankfulFor all of these individuals – the parents, teachers, elected officials, community leaders, and other supporters who joined efforts to improve schools for students in New York and across the country.  To recognize their commitment, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, members of the StudentsFirstNY community are sharing the people in their lives who they are #ThankfulFor this year.

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StudentsFirstNY Releases NAEP for New York Datasheet

National Assessment of Educational Progress has released its annual national report card regarding the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students in the United States. This report card is essential to educators, policy makers, and other stakeholders in the public school system for the information it provides us.

This year the NAEP results showed that public schools in New York and New York City only prepares one-third of school children adequately. It also shows that the achievement gap that leaves behind NY’s neediest kids remains a huge challenge that requires real, research led reforms to fix.

Download the datasheet here: Link


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SFNY Parents Speak Out In Support Of High Standards Ahead Of Common Core Task Force

Governor Cuomo's Common Core Task Force is convening today to hold a public hearing on New York State's learning standards, instructional guidance, and testing policies. Yesterday, however, some of our parents spoke at a forum, sponsored by High Achievement New York, about why they support Common Core. See why SFNY parents support high standards in their remarks below.


Mildred Martinez

My son is a third grader at P.S. 89. This February will be his first time taking tests aligned to the Common Core.

In the past, I had no way of really knowing if he was making the grade. 

Last year, he fell behind academically and the only way I found out was after I asked his teacher at a parent teacher conference. 

I don’t understand why they didn’t let me know he needed extra help. 

I was upset, and I am still not satisfied with teachers who were not committed to helping my son do better in school. 

The Common Core will make sure my son is on track. I’ll have a way to make sure he’s making the grade – and his teachers will be able to show me clearly what he needs to work on.

I am thankful that New York is leading the way on the Common Core, to make sure all kids have access to high standards.


Alverene Thomas

My child is in the sixth grade and I believe in high standards and that’s why I support the Common Core.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a school environment where my parents and teachers could track my progress. I want my child to have that same opportunity.

When you don’t have a way to measure student achievement, there’s no way to hold adults accountable. Children can get lost in the system. 

Parents need to have a way to make sure our children are succeeding in school. We don’t have to just accept what a school administrator wants us to believe. 

The Common Core also helps teachers identify the areas where students need extra help. Instead of falling behind, teachers and parents can work together to make sure children are learning.

I am sick and tired of hearing that every child doesn't deserve high standards. 

These higher standards aren’t always easy – but with the right support in school and at home, our kids can do it. 

The Common Core provides a guide for helping our kids get the education they deserve.


Damian Gaillard  

I have two daughters who have both taken tests aligned to the Common Core. 

My daughter Maisia is in the ninth grade at Pace High School and my daughter Tangier is in the fourth grade at P.S. 36.

The Common Core is a necessary component to getting my daughters a quality education.

My daughters took the tests and I can tell you – the tests are not easy. My girls had to work hard to do well. But now that they’ve been through it, and they made it through, I see the pride and satisfaction in their faces.

My daughters are getting a better education now because of the Common Core.

That’s what I want for all kids. I think every child in New York deserves to have that same sense of satisfaction and achievement. Every child in New York deserves those same high standards. 

The Common Core is a critical tool for teachers so they can ensure that every child is on the path to success, and it is critical for parents to hold the system accountable. 


Kathryn Marrow

I have a nine year old son who is in the fourth grade. 

I believe that all parents should be able to track their children’s progress – and that’s exactly what the Common Core does 

I believe in the Common Core and I can tell you – my son is opting IN.

I know that not every parent agrees. There are some parents who don’t want their kids to take the annual tests. I just don’t understand why they don’t want to know if their kids are learning what they need to learn. Burying your head in the sand may make you feel better, but it’s not going to help your child learn the skills he needs to be successful.

I want to know how my son is doing. I know that if he works hard, he can meet higher standards. 

We need to set high expectations for all kids, and then give them the support they need to realize their potential. 

At the heart of it, that’s what the Common Core represents. Setting a high bar, providing a way to reach the goal, and helping students achieve their full potential. 


PS67 Parent Patrick Cabiness' Remarks At FES Charter Rally

Today, thousands of parents, educators, and students came together to make a stand for school equality. New York City’s schools are separate and unequal. There are 478,000 students – mostly black and Hispanic – who are stuck on a path to failure, forced to attend the lowest performing schools. These children don’t have a voice, but we do. Testimony from one of the parents who spoke -- Patrick Cabiness, is below. 


Patrick Cabiness:

Good afternoon. My name is Patrick Cabiness and my son is a 3rd grader at PS 67 in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I also am a proud member of StudentsFirst New York. I have seen firsthand how Mayor de Blasio has been failing our schools and our kids. At my son’s school 9 out of 10 kids can’t read on grade level. So basically, my son has a 1 in 10 shot of passing the state tests. Most of the parents if not all the parents in Fort Greene feel the same way: that our schools are ignored and forgotten by this Mayor. The Mayor promises to have all second graders reading by the year TWENTY TWENTY-SIX! My son will be 19 years old in 2026! I can’t wait for that and neither can he!!! Right now, my son and other students at PS 67 are being set up for failure. Our kids need high quality schools RIGHT NOW! Our kids need quality teachers RIGHT NOW! And our kids need quality school options RIGHT NOW!, not in TEN YEARS.




Students Head #BackToSchoolNYC

As more than a million students head back to school, we asked StudentsFirstNY parents from across the city to share why they are excited for the school year. 

Take a look at some of the photos below, and meet more of the parents on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram


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Parent Testimonies at Walt Whitman Library

Today, parents gathered in Fort Greene, Brooklyn to celebrate recent improvement at Walt Whitman Library. Testimonies from two of the parents who spoke -- Ana Mena and Patrick Cabiness, are below. Follow StudentsFirstNY on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see photos from today's event.

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SFNY Statement: Test Results Paint Honest Picture of Persistent Low Performance

Students Deserve More Than Incremental Gains

"Today’s test results paint an honest picture of how New York’s students are doing — and unfortunately, our system is failing to educate too many children. We cannot deny the public school crisis these numbers so plainly expose. When more than two-thirds of students aren't being taught to read and write on grade level, you have to question who this system is designed to serve. Incremental gains are not going to cut it. We need to dramatically improve teacher quality and school choices if we're going to prepare students for college and careers," said StudentsFirstNY's Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

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SFNY Memo: Educational Equality and the New York State Tests

Results from the 2015 New York State ELA and math tests are expected to be released in the coming days, and these scores will help provide insight into how public schools in New York are performing. The state’s shift to higher standards and increased accountability has brought about a much-needed focus on student achievement. No longer will those responsible for educating our children be able to hide behind weak assessments that provide a false sense of security. To be clear -- the pressure that educators now feel to help students succeed is a good thing. We must not allow the recent misconduct of adults in New York City to obscure this basic fact. The public school school system is moving towards a model that ensures equity and accountability -- so that all children are provided with the quality education they need to succeed. 

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Crown Heights Parents Urge Chancellor Fariña to Act

June 23, 2015

Chancellor Fariña:

We are writing to you today to urge you to take action to improve P.S. 289 George V. Brower School in Crown Heights Brooklyn. For years, this school has lagged behind other schools in New York City on state math and English language arts tests (scoring 30% in math and 22% in ELA respectively, in 2014 ). That means this school is only preparing roughly 1 in 4 children. To make matters worse, the teachers and administration at P.S. 289 are consistently inattentive to the needs of both parents and students. That is why we, the parents of P.S. 289 students, are calling for the following changes:


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