Press Release 3.19

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2015**

Contact: Families for Excellent Schools –
Khan Shoieb, Khan@StuLoeser.com (646) 650-5503

100 MEMBERS OF BLACK AND HISPANIC CLERGY, LED BY SEN. DIAZ SR. AND REV. JOHNNIE GREEN, CALL FOR BOLD ACTION TO FIX URGENT CRISIS OF FAILING SCHOOLS

Members of Clergy Join #DontStealPossible Movement to End New York’s Failing Schools Crisis

Groups Represent 650 New York Churches from Black and Hispanic Communities
#DontStealPossible DontStealPossible.Org

New York, NY – In an extraordinary coalition of religious leaders in New York’s Black and Hispanic communities, nearly 100 members of clergy led by Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. and Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green gathered on the steps of New York City Hall on Thursday afternoon to declare the passage of bold, structural change to fix a statewide failing schools crisis a “moral” imperative. The clergy were members of the New York Hispanic Clergy Association and Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, which together represent 650 Black and Hispanic churches across New York.

Thursday’s call for bold, structural change to fix New York’s failing schools crisis builds on similar calls for action on the state’s failing schools crisis from editorial boards, parents, and advocacy groups in recent weeks. The Black and Hispanic clergy coalition’s push adds significant momentum to the #DontStealPossible movement to end New York’s failing schools crisis, and brings the racial impact of the state’s failing education system into stark relief.

With nearly 800,000 students failing to read at grade level in New York, members of the clergy on Thursday spoke of a moral crisis that predominantly trapped Black and Hispanic children in major cities blanketed by persistently failing schools. With bureaucratic tweaks failing year after year to turn schools around, Sen. Diaz Sr., Rev. Johnnie Green, and other religious leaders called for bold, structural change that dramatically expands high-quality charter and district school options for parents and their children.

In New York City alone, 96% of the 143,000 students in these failing schools are Black or Hispanic, and 93% come from families near or below the poverty line. In 90 of the city’s schools, not a single Black or a single Hispanic student met proficiency passed state exams.

“We have come together today to tell state leaders that it is a moral imperative to take bold action to end the crisis of failing schools,” said Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. “Albany must realize that this isn’t just about education–this crisis is denying the future for our Black and Hispanic children.”

“The number in this failing schools crisis have a face to them–the faces of Black and Hispanic children across New York,” said Rev. Dr. Johnnie Green. “All of New York’s eyes are on Albany right now to step up and fix this injustice.”

“No child should be trapped in a failing school,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor. “We must expand access to excellent schools, district or charter, and the time for change is now.”

“This is an urgent moral crisis that demands bold change in education to help 143,000 students in failing schools,” said Pastor Pat Young.

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