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Parent-Led Campaign Wins $10 Million for Struggling Students

January 18, 2011


Last July, parents and education advocates were alarmed when recalibration of state test scores revealed that 239,000 NYC students are not meeting state standards and are not on track for success in college – an increase of more than 100,000 students. The NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ) spearheaded a four-month long “Save Our Schools” campaign with elected officials and leading advocacy organizations to secure immediate intervention services for these students. That effort saw a major victory today in Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement of a $10 million initiative to support 532 schools in providing additional tutoring services to the most struggling students, including small group and individual instruction during the school day, afterschool and on weekends, and supplemental instructional materials.

CEJ parent leader Zakiyah Ansari spoke as part of the announcement today at the Department of Education headquarters in Manhattan.  Her remarks and the DOE press release are below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 18, 2011

No. 18

www.nyc.gov

MAYOR BLOOMBERG, SPEAKER QUINN, CHANCELLOR BLACK AND UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS PRESIDENT MULGREW ANNOUNCE NEW SUPPORTS FOR STRUGGLING STUDENTS

$10 Million Will Fund Additional Tutoring, After-School Lessons, and Weekend Instruction at 532 Schools Across the City

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Schools Chancellor Cathleen P. Black and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) President Michael Mulgrew today announced a program to further help students who did not meet the standards on last year’s English and math exams. The Department of Education will direct an additional $10 million to 532 schools where more than two-thirds of students performed below grade level on New York State’s proficiency tests. Schools may use their additional funds for a range of services, such as: tutoring during the day; small group lessons after school; weekend instruction; and the purchase of supplemental materials, including web-based programming.

“Last year, New York State did what we had been asking for years and raised the standards on their math and English exams. And now school districts across the state have a greater understanding of how prepared students are for their coursework ahead,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’ve know that there are some students in New York City who need additional support and we have developed a program that will give these struggling students the extra help they need. By offering more opportunities for tutoring sessions during the day and on Saturdays, we will help our students stay engaged in learning and better prepare them for the challenges ahead.”

“Today’s announcement of strategic support for students performing below grade level is a smart move,” said Council Speaker Quinn. “I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Black as well as former Chancellor Klein, who I met with on this matter, for following up on and delivering a wise investment that will empower students who are most in need.”

“With a tight budget and tough choices ahead, we need to make the best use of our resources – by focusing on the children who need it most,” said Chancellor Black. “Just as we are committed to setting higher standards, we must be equally committed to helping our kids meet them.”

“As budget cuts have crippled our tutoring and afterschool programs, we need all the resources we have to help struggling students and schools,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said.

“Today, the DOE has shown that it has heard the voices of parents from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, and the Save Our Schools campaign,” said Zakiyah Ansari, parent leader, NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ). “Now, tens of thousands of students in 532 schools will get additional support to help them get on track for college and career success. We hope this is the beginning of a renewed commitment to our most struggling students by all the stakeholders—the DOE, the unions, the City Council Speaker, and the parents of CEJ.”

After New York State raised the bar for proficiency on the annual tests, rates dropped across the state, and more New York City students scored at levels 1 or 2, rather than at levels 3 and 4. For each of the 532 schools eligible for additional funds, the City will measure how many more students did not pass last spring’s tests compared to the exams during the 2008-09 school year; each allocation will be based on that difference. The largest amount that any school will receive is $65,000, while the smallest is $6,000. Each school will be expected to submit a plan to its school support network, and each will receive a sample list of programs from which they may choose. Schools may use their allocation for:

  • Push-in/pull-out tutoring during the school day, funded per session;
  • Small group lessons after school, or Saturday academies; and
  • Purchase of tutoring or intervention programs, including web-based programs (examples of some programs include Achieve 3000, Reading Reform Foundation of New York, Read 180, Destination Mathematics, etc.).

CEJ’s remarks at Press Conference Announcing AIS Initiative for Struggling Students

Zakiyah Ansari, Parent Leader, CEJ

1/18/11

It’s fitting that we stand here a day after the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday whose enduring legacy is that of justice and equality.  In NYC today, this means that all our children, especially those from Black and Latino communities who have historically struggled, receive adequate educational resources, to enable them to live their dreams.

The announcement today of a 10 million dollar program to provide academic intervention services to tens of thousands of children in 532 schools is a step in that direction.  The additional supports these students will receive can help them get on track for college and career success.

Parents from The NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, along with the Save Our Schools Campaign sounded the alarm after the recalibration of test scores revealed that an additional 100,000 students tested below standard.  Today we thank Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Education, Michael Mulgrew, president of the UFT, Ernie Logan, president of the CSA, and Speaker Christine Quinn for hearing our voices and finding a way to make this happen.

AIS is an important first step.   We stand here today in the hopes that it is the beginning of all stakeholders working together to ensure that our most struggling students and our most struggling schools get the supports and resources that they need.

CEJ believes in higher standards and that all young people should and could be prepared for college and career success.  However, if we are raising the bar, we need to raise the supports to help students get there. Today’s announcement begins to do that.  We can’t stop here.  Many of our schools are in crisis and we are facing the potential of enormous budget cuts to education.  We have to stick together to stop the cuts and to continue to prioritize our neediest schools and students.

How powerful would it be if we could make a conscious effort to continue to work together as key stakeholders including parents and community members and put forth a plan so that all of our children succeed?  To end with a quote from Dr. King, “our children can’t wait.”

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