Every School, Every Zip Code, Every Child — Equal
Bad weather kept us from rallying last week, but the forecast for this Wednesday is sunny and cool! I can’t wait to join so many thousands of people from across New York City, from both charter and district schools, to demand that the profound inequality in education be addressed. This is an issue that is incredibly important and the momentum for change is growing! By standing together with families from across the city, we will send a powerful message to our city leaders: The profound and appalling education inequality that divides our city must end.
I’m also excited to hear the inspiring Jennifer Hudson, along with DJ Jazzy Jeff and Aloe Blacc, uniting with us to stand for the right of every child to have access to a great school. I know last week’s rescheduling was inconvenient and disruptive to many families’ schedules, and I appreciate your support and flexibility. I am certain that your participation will make a difference as it has so many others times before.
By standing together with families from across the city, we will send a powerful message to our city leaders: The profound and appalling education inequality that divides our city must end.
For 50 years, New York City has perpetuated a system that is separate and unequal and failing our children of color. There are half a million children in failed schools — not learning to read or do math at a basic level. This is an urgent problem, and we need immediate solutions. One of the most compelling solutions to racial and socioeconomic inequality is to open more charter schools. But we also cannot continue to force families to send their children to schools that have been failing our city’s kids for decades. We need real change, not just the announcement of a new program of reading specialists or coding for all.
Indeed, the only way to solve this problem is to honestly face the facts — and the facts clearly suggest there is a Tale of Two School Systems:
- The top quarter of NYC schools are improving twice as fast the bottom quarter.
- The bottom quarter of schools enrolls students who are 96% black and Hispanic.
- More than 200,000 black and Hispanic students failed either the math or ELA exams last year.
- The number of black students who passed the math and ELA exams actually declined.
- Citywide, 41 percent of black students and 43 percent of Hispanic students are failing to graduate high school on time.
The truth is undeniable: there are 478,000 children of color trapped in failed schools. These are children just like ours. They are the brothers and sisters and neighbors of our kids. We know these children could achieve academically, but they are stuck in an educational system that is fundamentally unfair and discriminatory.
On Wednesday, we will take a stand and demand changes that will impact tens of thousands of children. Separate and unequal is unacceptable. We will stand with our families and their right to choose a better option and have access to excellence.