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QUEENS & BROOKLYN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS CALL FOR MAYOR DE BLASIO TO PRIORITIZE EDUCATIONAL EQUITY FOR ALL KIDS

**For Immediate Release November 11, 2021**

Contact: 

Laura Wilker, 914-646-3957

[email protected]org

Ann Powell, 646-894-6407

[email protected]org

QUEENS & BROOKLYN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS CALL FOR MAYOR DE BLASIO TO PRIORITIZE EDUCATIONAL EQUITY FOR ALL KIDS

City Kicks the Can Down the Road on Two Success Academies Serving Economically Disadvantaged Students of Color While Pushing Through Proposals Regarding Six District Schools

New York, NY — Today, Success Academy students held a virtual press conference to protest inequitable treatment from Mayor de Blasio. They had been eagerly waiting to hear about the fate of their schools, but when the city posted proposed changes to NYC school building utilizations on November 5, their schools were not included. The proposed changes will be voted on at the December 21 Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) meeting, leaving these Brooklyn and Queens students and their families in the lurch.

Now, late January — after the mayor leaves office — is the earliest these students will find out if they will have a school next year, or where it will be. The DOE has not announced the next PEP meeting date.

“We need our voices to be heard and continue our education at this spectacular school,” said Pearl Paul, SA Far Rockaway Middle School 6th grader. “We should not have to go to other schools that do not provide the same educational standards.”

Success Academy families have been emailing, tweeting, and pleading for the mayor to post two proposals that affect their children: a middle school in Far Rockaway and a high school in Brooklyn. Despite repeated promises, this mayor has yet to follow through, saying that the city has until March 2022 to find locations for these students — 95% of which are black or Hispanic, and three out of four economically disadvantaged.

At the same time, P.S. 150, a Manhattan school that serves mostly white children, only 11% of whom are economically disadvantaged, will get confirmation of a permanent school for their children next month.

“Mr. Mayor, you made a promise to serve your constituents, and to support kids, no matter what. You need to take action, and allow us to make DPMS a high school, for the good of every student in Brooklyn,” said Clifford Lherisson, SA Ditmas Park Middle School 8th grader.

Background on SA Far Rockaway

Families want their children to be able to continue their education at the school where 94% of students passed math and 84% passed ELA on the most recent (2019) state tests (compared to 52% of Queens district school students for each). SA Far Rockaway Middle School’s temporary co-location is set to expire in 2022, and the families don’t know where their school will be next year, or if they’ll even be granted one. Despite multiple requests and thousands of emails from parents calling for a permanent solution, these families have been ignored. Of note, 95% of these middle schoolers are people of color, and over three quarters are eligible for free or reduced price lunch.

Background on SA’s Proposal for a New Brooklyn High School 

Success Academy’s high schools have a strong record: 100% of the first four graduating classes have been accepted to college, many to highly selective schools. Last year, 71% of the graduating class — almost all students of color — received at least one acceptance offer that met their full financial need; 75% of the class will be the first in their families to attend college.

It’s not hard to understand why parents sent Mayor de Blasio almost 1,000 emails last week, pressing him to approve a proposal to repurpose existing space at SA Ditmas Park Middle School allocated to Success Academy by the Department of Education in 2017 to a new Brooklyn high school. This school would accommodate the 360 Brooklyn and Queens 8th graders who will need a high school next year, a number expected to grow to 1,000 over the next five years. Over 90% of these 8th graders are people of color, and over 60% are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. The proposal has the support of U.S. Representative Yvette Clark and State Senator Kevin Parker.

“Honestly, you identified yourself as a mayor for children and equality, but your treatment of a rare and brilliantly successful school has been disappointingly dismal,” wrote Success Academy parent Justine Llop-Allevik to the mayor. “After the year we’ve had, how is this not a priority?”

The space at Ditmas Park Middle School has two large gymnasiums, a large auditorium, and a cafeteria, all shared amicably with MS 246. Mayor de Blasio wants SA to use a different, smaller building with only 700 seats that doesn’t have a gym or an auditorium, and has a significantly smaller cafeteria.

“We know you care about children and their education, so please do what is right for our children as you would for your own,” wrote Janice Mckenzie, SA Ditmas Park MS parent, in an email last week.

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ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY  

Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 22,000 students, primarily children of color from low-income households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are students of color, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. For more information about Success Academy, go to successacademies.org.

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