Press Release 2.18

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** FEBRUARY 18, 2015

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SENATOR DIAZ SR., LEADING BRONX ELECTED OFFICIALS, AND CLERGY STAND WITH PARENTS TO URGE ALBANY TO END FAILING SCHOOLS CRISIS

Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, Michael Blake, and Mark Gjonaj Call for More Excellent Schools in the Bronx

65,000 Bronx Children Trapped in Failing Schools

BRONX, NY — A coalition of Bronx elected officials led by Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and State Assemblymen Marcos Crespo, Michael Blake, and Mark Gjonaj joined prominent clergy leaders and dozens of Bronx parents in front of Girls Prep Bronx Charter School on Wednesday morning to call on Albany to press ahead with bold action to end a statewide education crisis that traps 65,000 Bronx students in failing schools.

At 149 schools in the Bronx, less than one in ten can read or do math at grade level, and these schools disproportionately impact poor children of-color— 96% of the 65,000 students in these failing schools are of-color, and 95% come from families near or below the poverty line.

Elected and parent leaders urged Albany not to back down from efforts to achieve bold, structural change to expand access to high-quality schools–district or charter. Demand for high-quality charter schools like Girls Prep Bronx is highest in the Bronx, and one in every three families on charter school waitlists are Bronx families.

“Charter schools like Girls’ Prep are a godsend to our Black and Hispanic children who have been left behind,” said State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. “I’m here to support Governor Cuomo’s education proposals.”

“Parents in the Bronx deserve to have the option of sending their child to a high-quality school.  It doesn’t matter if they’re district or charter,” said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo. “All excellent schools should be treated equally.”

“When 65,000 Bronx children are forced to attend failing schools every day, it’s time to act,” said Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj. “We need to enact bold, structural change immediately.”

“Across the Bronx, and across the state, too many children are consigned to failure,” said Assemblyman Michael Blake. “Our kids deserve so much better.”

“Our children are not succeeding in school, and they’re not attaining the opportunities that others have access to,” said Jenny Rivera, Director of Aguila Bronx Neighboorhoods. “We need to help parents access quality charter schools.”

“Failing schools are unacceptable. We support all good schools.” Rev. Raymond Rivera, Founder of Family Life Academy Charter Network. “We support the reform agenda–the ceiling should be lifted.”

“We need to have more opportunities that schools like Girls Prep Bronx represent so that girls in our community can have a better future,” said Evy Gross, Coordinator of after-school program in South Bronx.

“Failing schools are a big issue right now, and a big concern for the Chamber. We need good schools so that we can hire a lot of these kids, said Frank Garcia, Chairman of New York State Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

Families for Excellent Schools harnesses the power of families to advance policy and political changes that create and sustain excellent schools.

http://www.FamiliesForExcellentSchools.org
On Twitter at: @Fam4ExcSchools