Press Releases

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.


StudentsFirstNY Congratulates Eric Adams

“Congratulations to Mayor-elect Eric Adams on his resounding victory. We look forward to working with the new mayor to improve our city schools so that every child has a real chance at a quality education, no matter where they live, said StudentsFirstNY Chief Advocacy Officer Crystal McQueen-Taylor. As a product of New York City public schools, Eric Adams understands the many challenges that face families in low-income communities. After eight long years, we’ll finally have a mayor that understands the important role that charter schools play in expanding opportunities for children.”

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StudentsFirstNY Statement on Governor Hochul

“Kathy Hochul makes history today, breaking the highest, hardest glass ceiling in the Empire State. We look forward to working closely with Governor Hochul in the months ahead to help students navigate this challenging time and to ensure that every child in New York State has access to a world-class education,” said StudentsFirstNY Chief Advocacy Officer Crystal McQueen-Taylor.


StudentsFirstNY Citywide Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Support Charter Schools


A newly released StudentsFirstNY poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group of more than 1,500 likely Democratic primary voters in New York City found an overwhelming majority support public charter schools. Among the key findings were:

  • Primary voters overwhelmingly (80%) say that charter schools are mostly good for their students (84% of Black voters and 81% of Latino voters say charters in NYC are mostly good for their students.)
  • After hearing an explanation of the current cap on charter schools, 70% of voters say that we should allow new charter schools to open if parents want them (73% of Black primary voters and 75% of Latino primary voters say new charter schools should be allowed to open if parents want them.)

"In a survey of likely democratic primary voters, 84% of Black voters have a positive view of charters and a significant majority want to see mayoral candidates embrace charters in their education vision,” said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “We look forward to a new era in partnership with a mayor who will put the students of New York first."

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StudentsFirstNY Statement on Conviction of Derek Chauvin

"For almost a year, the community raised its voice to demand justice for George Floyd. Today, those calls were heeded. While no verdict will bring George Floyd back to his loved ones, we hope that this verdict brings some small solace to them and the country. As Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison stated, 'this verdict is about accountability, but justice is about restoration.' We stand in solidarity with the Floyd family, and the countless other families who have not known justice. We must continue to work toward a future where black lives truly matter, where we do not have to say any more names," said StudentsFirstNY Chief Advocacy Officer Crystal McQueen-Taylor.   


SFNY Statement on Passing of Former Mayor Dinkins

Statement from StudentsFirstNY's Executive Director Jenny Sedlis: 

Former Mayor David Dinkins, a trailblazer in New York City politics, sought to bring New Yorkers together during challenging times. His rise to power inspired many New Yorkers in low-income communities and in these divisive times, we could all learn a lot from his legacy to embrace the 'gorgeous mosaic' of New York City. Rest in power, Mr. Mayor. 



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