Press Release – Parents Call for Bold Expansion of Parent Choice
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** NOVEMBER 3, 2014
PARENTS CALL FOR BOLD EXPANSION OF PARENT CHOICE TO SAVE 143,000 KIDS TRAPPED IN FAILING SCHOOLS
New York, NY – Facing a failing schools crisis that traps 143,000 students in failing schools, parents called on Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina to allow families stuck in failing schools to transfer immediately to better ones.
“When your own child is stuck in a failing school, you cannot wait for broken promises from the bureaucracy to fail yet again,” said Twana Pinks, a Harlem parent. “The obvious fix is to let us choose better schools now.”
“We call on the city to help us transfer to safer, better schools,” said Yvonne Guillen, a Bronx parent. “That’s the only chance our kids have when the system is fundamentally broken.”
Expanding parent choice is not only the most effective solution, it is also required by federal law. A central tenet of the original No Child Left Behind Act, Public School Choice, was designed to prevent families and students from being forced to attend failing schools. Families with children in New York City assigned to the lowest-performing schools, labeled “focus” or “priority,” or schools that are closing, must, as a matter of federal law, be given the option to transfer to a better school.
There are 300 Focus and Priority Schools in New York City. Since 2003, more than 65,000 families have exercised choice to flee these schools for better options, but 143,000 remain trapped. The city was required to send transfer applications to families no later than 14 days prior to the start of the school year. If the city is not fulfilling its obligations, a Corrective Action Plan may be necessary. NYSED forced Buffalo to come up with a plan to guarantee 100% of requested transfers last year after a substantial number of parents were denied.
“My son is forced to attend one of the worst middle schools in Brooklyn, and I will not wait one year or ten for a bureaucracy to fail yet again” said Ebony Burrowes, a parent from East New York. “I need a transfer NOW.”
“With 143,000 students trapped in failing schools, it’s clear that another year of multi-year plans will not fix decades of failure,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, Executive Director of Families for Excellent Schools. “The only viable remedy is to immediately empower parents to choose better schools.”
Families for Excellent Schools harnesses the power of families to advance policy and political changes that create and sustain excellent schools.
On Twitter at: @Fam4ExcSchools