A year and a half has passed since the de Blasio administration took over the Department of Education, assuming control of 1,800 schools, 70,000 teachers, and 1.1 million students. Within months of taking office, Mayor de Blasio negotiated a generous new teachers’ contract, laying the groundwork for what has been a cozy alliance with the United Federation of Teachers. Since then, with his schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, at his side, Mayor de Blasio has turned his attention to school quality. With much media fanfare, a patch-work of ambitious-sounding new programs has been announced. Formerly significant issues like school accountability and teacher evaluations have been watered down or ignored. Throughout, Mayor de Blasio’s disdain for charter schools has been loud and clear.Read more
"Today Albany leaders stepped up and delivered for parents and students who demanded more choice. Too many children are stuck in failing schools without options," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie, families in New York City will have more high quality school choices. Thankfully, Albany leaders understand that charter schools play a critical role in the delivery of free, public education in New York."
Despite Difficult Session, Significant Progress for Students in 2015
"In a difficult legislative session, education has been a bright spot thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership," said StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis. "Today's deal allows for 50 new charters for New York City and gives Mayor de Blasio a year to restore parent confidence in his ability to run schools. The education tax credit would have provided parents quality options, and we're disappointed that an agreement couldn't be reached."Read more
Open Letter to Chancellor Fariña Details Parents’ Requests
(Crown Heights, Brooklyn) Parents of students from P.S. 289 George V. Brower School teamed with leading education reform organization StudentsFirstNY to release a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña calling for the Department of Education to step in and facilitate change at the Crown Heights elementary school.Read more
"Most teachers would do well on any evaluation system, but the union seems intent on watering down our new system to safeguard its lowest performing members, no matter the costs to students. Lowering the bar and adding emphasis on additional local tests helps no one but the union and its lowest performers," said Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.
Press Release: StudentsFirstNY Joins City Council Members to Announce Real Results Required By Local Law 36 (Avonte's Law)
Door alarms will be installed in school buildings citywide in 2015
Council Member Robert Cornegy, Jr., joined by dozens of parent members of StudentsFirstNY, announced the results of the Department of Education’s first annual report required by Avonte’s Law.Read more
"Today's report by the U.S. Census Bureau that New York spends more than any other state per student should serve as a wake up call. Money alone cannot solve the education crisis in New York State. We need fundamental reform. All options need to be on the table to improve schools so every child has access to the best teachers and every family has access to great school choices," said Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.Read more
"The Board of Regents made a strong choice in selecting MaryEllen Elia as New York State's next Education Commissioner. She is a nationally recognized leader in education, who has a record of accomplishment in helping boost the achievement for low-income children. As a former educator herself, she knows firsthand what it takes for schools to succeed. We believe MaryEllen Elia will lead the way to give all of New York's students the schools they deserve," said Executive Director Jenny Sedlis.Read more
Joint Statement: Promotion of PROSE Schools Exposes Hypocrisy Behind Mayor de Blasio's Opposition to Cap Lift
New York, NY – StudentsFirstNY and Families for Excellent Schools released this statement in response to Mayor de Blasio's comments opposing the lifting of charter cap:
StudentsFirstNY's Jenny Sedlis and Families for Excellent Schools' Jeremiah Kittredge:
"It's no surprise that hundreds of struggling schools are seeking the freedom of charter schools, only to have union regulations tie their hands. The small scale of Mayor de Blasio's PROSE program does nothing for the 50,000 on charter school waiting lists, ensuring that PROSE will ring hollow as long as the Mayor stands with his union allies in opposing a cap lift and depriving families of school choice."