Search   |   Contact   |   Donate   |   FAQ
Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Thu, Sep 16, 2010

CFE Joins Elected Leaders, Parents and Education Advocates in Launching “Save Our Schools” ("S.O.S.") Campaign to Combat the Education Emergency Revealed in the Shocking Drop in Math and English Scores

Share |

September 16, 2010 – Three-dozen New York City elected officials, New York’s leading education advocacy organizations, and hundreds of parents gathered on the steps of the Department of Education today to declare an education emergency in City schools, and to launch “Save our Schools”—an effort to secure immediate intervention services for more than 200,000 students who are unprepared for college.

Elected officials, parents, and education advocates demanded that the Department of Education (DOE) take the immediate action necessary to save these children. Demands include academic intervention services for individual students, comprehensive supports for struggling schools, and suspension of DOE policies and decisions based on the clearly flawed current system of testing and monitoring.

This summer, parents were shocked to learn that a more accurate recalibration of state test scores revealed that reading scores for City students had dropped by 27 points since last year, while math scores dropped 28 points. The achievement gap between Black and Latino and white students – and between students from poor families and those from more affluent families – also widened significantly.

“At the expense of our children, education officials were taught a harsh lesson this summer: that the reforms of the past nine years have not closed the achievement gap or led to enough significant progress for City students,” said parent leader Zakiyah Ansari. “Now they must learn from it. We must acknowledge the educational crisis in New York with an unprecedented message of urgency. The only solution is immediate supplementary support for students and schools, and a review of the policies that got us here.”

Ansari added: “This historic, broad-based Save Our Schools campaign of elected officials, parents and advocates came together out of our urgent concern that the City must take the action necessary to prepare all students for college and careers. DOE's time and focus should be spent on ending this crisis; but make no mistake, we will use all of our united organizational and political resources if they do not.”

This year, 109,427 more students do not meet English Language Arts (ELA) standards—meaning they are not on track for college. There are also now 369 schools where at least two out of every three students do not meet ELA standards. Last year there were five such schools. Yet the DOE eliminated its office and staff for Academic Intervention Services last year. If the DOE followed current policy, more than 50,000 additional students would likely be held back a grade based on test scores.

“We now know that the New York test scores touted by the Department of Education were comprised largely of smoke and mirrors—misleading thousands of parents and students across the city,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “DOE needs to spend less time on damage control and more time on concrete and constructive solutions to a school crisis that they helped create. It’s no time for excuses: We’re talking about talking about real-life kids and real-life stakes.”

“I have always encouraged providing struggling schools and students who are at risk with all the help they need,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “It is my hope we actively work together in this coalition to be strong advocates for the Save Our Students Emergency Action Plan—which calls on us to do everything we can to ensure equity, provide a constructive framework for all stakeholders, and make certain we become part of the changes in schools, rather than the critics watching from the sidelines.”

“I initiated the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit and fought for more than a decade to make sure that all NYC schoolchildren receive a quality education,” said City Council Education Committee Chairman Robert Jackson. “It’s clear from the latest test scores, however, that we still have a long way to go. I call upon the Department of Education to work with parents, elected officials and advocates on an action plan to close the achievement gap and help under-performing students and schools succeed on standardized tests as well as other measures.”

The following elected officials attended or were represented at today’s event: Borough Presidents Stringer and Markowitz; Council Members Jackson, Jumaane Williams, Daniel Dromm, Mathieu Eugene, Leticia James, Al Vann, Charles Barron, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, Gale Brewer, Margaret Chin, Leroy Comrie, Inez Dickens, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Dominic Recchia, Ydanis Rodriguez, Mark Weprin, James Sanders Jr., Darlene Mealy, and Lew Fidler; Assembly Members William Boyland Jr., Karim Camara, Jeff Aubry, Inez Barron, Linda Rosenthal, Carl Heastie, James Brennan, Hakeem Jeffries, Grace Meng, Annette Robinson, Alan Maisel, and Darryl Towns; State Senators John Sampson, Bill Perkins, and Shirley Huntley; Democratic State Senator-nominee Gustavo Rivera.

Advocacy organizations in support of the campaign’s platform for change include Advocates for Children, Alliance for Quality Education, Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective, Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Center for Arts Education, Center for Immigrant Families, Class Size Matters, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, Concerned Advocates for Public Education (CAPE), Coalition for Asian American Children and Families (CACF), Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, Education Voters of NY, Fort Greene SNAP, Grassroots Education Movement (GEM), Make the Road by Walking, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, NY Charter Parents Association, NY Coalition of Radical Educators (NYCORE), New York Communities for Change, Staten Island Federation of PTAs, Time Out from Testing, United Federation of Teachers, and Urban Youth Collaborative.

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >