Press Releases

Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Response to Mayor de Blasio's Executive Budget

"It's pretty shocking that the Mayor did not include a single real solution to New York City's failing schools crisis in his budget presentation. Mayor de Blasio seems more concerned with raising his national profile than improving the education of New York City public school children," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.


Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Joins Public School Parents Calling for Stronger Teacher Evaluations

State Education Department Should Act with Urgency

On Thursday, with the New York State Board of Regents hearing testimony regarding the newly approved teacher evaluation system, leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY and public school parents offered recommendations and sent letters calling for a system that ensures all public school students have access to high-quality teachers.

“The State Education Department should act with urgency and within the timeline prescribed by the legislature to create a fair and rigorous teacher evaluation system,” said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. “Parents have a right to know whether their children have equitable access to quality teachers, which is only possible with an evaluation system that properly incorporates student test results.”


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Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Names New Communications Director

New York, NY — Leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY today announced the hiring of Michael Nitzky as Communications Director, effective May 1. The hiring of the seasoned political and media operative builds on the momentum generated by the group's successful push for landmark reforms at the state level.

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Press Release: Brookings Institute says New York's new teacher evaluation system should be "a blueprint" for other states

New York's controversial teacher evaluation system should be "a blueprint" for other states, according to a report by the Brookings Institute, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank. The report's author, Brookings senior fellow Thomas J. Kane, praises the New York evaluation system's "higher standard for tenure" and "use [of] technology to reinvent classroom observation."... “Let’s hope that Andrew Cuomo is not the only governor with the courage to revisit the issue," Kane wrote. Read the full report here:


Press Release: New Analysis Reveals Black NYC Students are Three Times More Likely Than White Peers to be Assigned to an Ineffective Teacher

Data released by the New York State Education Department on the distribution of teacher quality reveals inequitable access to highly effective teachers in New York City. Black students are three times more likely and Hispanic students are more than twice as likely to be taught by an ineffective teacher than their white peers.

These findings are troubling given the new statewide analysis demonstrating the great benefit highly effective teachers bring to struggling students. According to data also released today, students who scored a Level 1 in 2011-12 and were subsequently assigned to highly effective teachers for two years were about 5 times more likely to score a Level 3 or above in 2013-14 than their peers not assigned to highly effective teachers. 

Teachers rated highly effective using only the State-provided growth measure 
faired even better. Level 1 students taught by these teachers two years in a row were almost 7 times more likely to score a Level 3 or above in 2013-14 than their peers not assigned to highly effective teachers.

"Today’s findings that ineffective teachers are predominantly placed in communities of color is a wake up call. While families in affluent parts of the state rail against assessing student learning, children in high need communities suffer. This new evidence proves definitively that the teachers’ union's cynical ploy to undermine teacher evaluations is directly harmful to children who need help the most," said StudentsFirstNY executive director Jenny Sedlis.


Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Releases Television Ad Praising Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for Passing Important Education Reforms in Budget

New York, NY — Statewide education advocacy organization StudentsFirstNY today released an ad praising Governor Cuomo and the legislature for enacting important education reforms as a part of this year’s budget agreement and encouraging them to keep going. The ad will run statewide beginning today.

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Press Release: Governor Cuomo, Senate and Assembly Deliver Landmark Teacher Tenure Reform and Other Major School Improvements in State Budget

"No one disputes that New York’s schools need help, but few are willing to take on the entrenched special interests to transform the system. Governor Cuomo laid out an incredibly ambitious statewide education reform agenda, and with the support of the Senate and Assembly, delivered key and major reforms.

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Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Parent Activists Rally In Support of Governor’s Education Reform Agenda

Parents Call on Legislature to Stand up for Students

New York, NY – As final negotiations wrap up on the state budget, public school parent activists and students today rallied outside Tweed Courthouse to urge legislators to pass the meaningful education reforms outlined in Governor Cuomo’s education Opportunity Agenda. Parents and students across New York, including grassroots activists organized by education reform advocacy organization StudentsFirstNY and Derrell Bradford, executive director of NYCAN, view Governor Cuomo’s reforms as critical to improving public school options.

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Press Release: Teachers' Union Generating Parent Confusion to Protect Own Interests

"Parents deserve unbiased, unfiltered information about policies affecting their children, so it's unfortunate that the teachers' union controls the messages that are sent through schools. Governor Cuomo's Opportunity Agenda will benefit children tremendously, but the union would rather generate confusion as a shield to protect its own interests. The Governor's policies would ensure we recruit and retain high performing teachers, that we don't give lifetime jobs to teachers who are not effective, that we can remove low performers from classrooms, and that the interests of students are put first."

-- Tenicka Boyd, StudentsFirstNY Director of Organizing


Press Release: Misleading Statements from de Blasio Administration Make Case for Cuomo Failing Schools Fixes

"We remain incredibly concerned about the children trapped in failing schools like Boys and Girls High School.  The de Blasio administration failed to mention the fact that enrollment has fallen radically from 809 in October to 557 in February - a precipitous 31% drop. The administration must answer where have those students gone, especially considering reports of counseling out last November. 

"The de Blasio administration is touting a longer day, despite the fact that their teachers union contract cut instructional time at all city schools. The administration is also highlighting that teachers must reapply for their jobs, without including the details of the secret MOA with the union that ensured decisions would be made by a UFT-selected panel.

"Parents deserve to see real progress, not disingenuous pronouncements.  That's why parents from communities like Bed-Stuy are supporting the education reforms in Governor Cuomo's Opportunity Agenda."

-- Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director, StudentsFirstNY

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