Press Releases

Public School Parents Give Mayor de Blasio an “F” on School Transparency

New York, NY – More than 200 parents and students gathered on the steps of City Hall today to demand that Mayor Bill de Blasio respond to the Freedom of Information requests that StudentsFirstNY has filed on their behalf. The average FOIL request from these parents has been kicked back 16 times. Parents feel their requests for information have been deflected, dodged and denied and they are giving the Mayor a grade of “F” on transparency.

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SFNY Report Finds Mayor de Blasio's PROSE Program Lacks Results and Promised Innovations

New York, NY – Leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY released a report today analyzing Mayor de Blasio’s Progressive Redesign Opportunity for Excellence (PROSE) program which he promised would be the union-backed answer to charter schools. In 2015, Mayor de Blasio boasted, "This is going to be a national model for reform, and one that I think is going to bear fruit very quickly."

Unfortunately for New York City students, a close examination of the program shows that PROSE is neither a national model for reform, nor one that has borne fruit. 

“Despite the rhetoric from Mayor de Blasio, it’s clear that PROSE schools are not as effective as the charters they seek to emulate,” said Jenny Sedlis, Executive Director of StudentsFirstNY. “PROSE was billed as the union’s answer to charter schools, but by definition, real innovation means challenging the status quo – something this Mayor is incapable of doing.”

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NYC Parents Launch "Say Yes to the Test" Campaign

Rally at City Hall in Support of Opting In To State Assessments

MARCH 23, 2017
MICHAEL NITZKY, 212 257 4349

(NEW YORK) – More than 100 parents from across New York City came together today to support a city and statewide campaign encouraging parents to have their children take state assessments, which begin next week.

New York City opt-in rates continue to lead the state with over 98 percent participation. At the same time, statewide opt-out rates have flat-lined over the past two years.  This is in part in response to steps the New York State Department of Education and its Board of Regents have taken to improve the quality of the tests themselves as well as quality and timeliness of the information teachers, parents and students receive about student results. Taken together this has helped underscore the value of these critical assessments. 

Today's rally is part of a statewide “Say Yes to the Test” effort that includes similar events in Buffalo, Rochester and Albany, a testimonial campaign from parents and leaders airing on Pandora and social media, and ongoing communication efforts.

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StudentsFirstNY Statement on NYC Graduation Rate Release

"While students should be praised for higher graduation rates, today's release still highlights serious problems that cannot be ignored. 

"Rather than boast about an incremental increase, Mayor de Blasio should humbly talk about what additional work is needed to address the achievement gap, dropping ELL achievement, low college readiness and the incredibly uneven quality among high schools. 
"He must also tackle the issue of inflated rates -- at the school where he's making the announcement, the 84% graduation rate masks a 28% college readiness level,"  said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

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StudentsFirstNY Statement on UFT's Endorsement of Mayor de Blasio

"It’s no surprise that the teachers union would pay back Mayor de Blasio’s steady stream of sweetheart deals with a political endorsement, but the sad reality is that no one in this equation is looking out for underserved students," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

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



StudentsFirstNY Statement on Mayor de Blasio State Budget Testimony

In Mayor de Blasio's state budget testimony today, he spoke against raising the regional cap on NYC charters and against fairly funding charters. Mayor de Blasio can't talk about fairly funding some schools and not all schools. The following quote can be attributed to StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis:

"Parents are tired of Mayor de Blasio's political opposition to charter schools. It's not good for kids and it's not helping solve the city's education crisis." 



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StudentsFirstNY Statement on the Lack of New Education Ideas in Mayor de Blasio's Preliminary Budget

"We're not seeing anything new in Mayor de Blasio's budget that will make a difference to children and families trapped in failing schools. His Renewal Schools program was an expensive flop and he has no new programs to improve teaching and learning, increase school choice, enhance college readiness or address the middle school crisis. If education were a priority for the Mayor, he'd do more than just pay lip service to the issues," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.


StudentsFirstNY Statement on Governor Cuomo's FY 2018 Executive Budget

“Governor Cuomo’s executive budget reaffirms his long held support for public schools and his belief in the critical role charter schools play in improving educational opportunities for the highest need students. The Governor is helping to create the conditions for further growth of high quality charter schools and is giving hope to thousands more children. We commend the Governor and strongly encourage the Senate and Assembly to work together to pass these critical proposals," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.

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Parents & StudentsFirstNY Reveal 8 Worst NYC Districts for Middle Schools

73,000 Students Live in Districts Without a Single Quality Middle School

New York, NY – New analysis by StudentsFirstNY has revealed eight community school districts where zero traditional middle schools meet basic standards. This means that nearly 73,000 NYC families don’t have a quality middle school option. That’s why more than two hundred public school parents took to the steps of City Hall to demand immediate and bold action by Mayor de Blasio to end “Middle School Deserts” in New York City. 

Read the new report.

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New Teacher Evaluation Deal Shows Mayor de Blasio Putting Re-election Before Kids

Statement from StudentsFirstNY's Executive Director Jenny Sedlis:

"Here's City Hall selling favors again -- apparently $350,000 buys you sweetheart deals in the de Blasio administration. Mayor de Blasio's scheme to rate every teacher effective may seal the union's endorsement but it won't help the kids who need better schools now. Mayor de Blasio should be fighting for kids, not the special interests who write him big checks."

Michael Nitzky


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