At #PathtoPossible Day of Action in Albany, 1,100 Parents Stand for 200,000 Children in Charter Schools by 2020

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** JANUARY 18, 2017

At #PathtoPossible Day of Action in Albany, 1,100 Parents Stand for 200,000 Children in Charter Schools by 2020

Joined by Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, State Senators Martin J. Golden, Ruben Diaz Sr. and Kevin Parker, and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, NYC Families Call for Equal Funding and Facilities for Public Charter Sector

Program at Legislative Office Building Highlights Power of Parent Activism

Albany, NY – More than 1,100 parents traveled to Albany on Wednesday for the #PathtoPossible Day of Action and urged their legislators to help New York City charter schools reach 200,000 students by 2020. Joined by elected champions like New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, State Senator Martin J. Golden, State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., State Senator Kevin Parker, and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo, these families called on their representatives to provide high-quality public charter schools with equal funding and facilities access and shared personal stories of the sector’s transformative impact.

The #PathtoPossible Day of Action featured a program in the Well of the Legislative Office Building with remarks by educators and elected officials, student performances, and a panel highlighting the power and importance of parent activism. Following the panel, families took to the halls of the Capitol to meet with their state legislators and ask them to support the #PathtoPossible vision for New York City’s public school children.

“I’m here today because I want more families to have access to the Path to Possible,” said Rosemary Valdez, whose children attend KIPP NYC College Prep High School and KIPP Infinity Middle School. “By sharing my children’s story with state legislators, I hope to help them understand why it’s so important that public charter schools get the funding and space they need to reach twice as many kids across New York City.”

“I believe in public education. I believe in charter schools. Last time I checked, charter schools are public schools,” said New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with New York City families and call for 200,000 students in public charters by 2020.”

New York City’s public charter schools currently serve over 100,000 students each year, but even at this record size the sector is unable to reach every family in need of high-quality public education options. As a result, over 44,000 children are stuck on charter waiting lists, and thousands more remain in the low-performing district schools they were zoned into. To change this status quo and ensure students from all neighborhoods have access to a world-class education, public charter networks and independent charter schools are working to double the size of the sector to 200,000 students by 2020.

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“I can’t help but think about the 44,000 kids still waiting in line — that could so easily be me and my family,” said Sulma Arzu-Brown, whose children attend Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School and Girls Prep Bronx Middle School. “If we double the number of kids in charter schools from 100,000 to 200,000, we get every kid off the waitlist and into a school they deserve.”

“In my district and all across the city, public charter schools are delivering a world-class education to kids of every race and background,” said Assembly Member Marcos Crespo. “Elected leaders must ensure that these great public schools have the funding and space necessary to put even more students on the Path to Possible.”

The public charter sector has already helped Black and Hispanic students in New York City’s eight lowest-performing school districts outpace their district school peers in reading and math, and since 2013 these students have shown three times as much academic growth as their district school counterparts. At 200,000 students, charter schools would have an even larger impact on low-income children of color, finally closing the achievement gap that separates these students from their peers in more affluent zip codes.

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This #PathtoPossible vision has built a growing movement of support from New York City’s leading elected voices, including Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and 21 additional officials who signed a public letter backing a September rally in Brooklyn. Thousands of teachers have also added their voices to the call for doubling the charter sector, with over 3,000 educators rallying in October in Manhattan’s Foley Square. Wednesday’s Day of Action saw hundreds of parents bring this message to Albany and make a compelling case for providing public charter schools with the equal funding and facilities access they need to grow.

“Parents and our elected champions will not rest until every child has the opportunity to go to a great public school, and until our public charter school scholars are treated fairly,” said Amanda Figueroa-Stroud, a teacher at Coney Island Prep Middle School and the event’s emcee. “That means our kids deserve equal funding, and fair access to public classroom space. Today we stand with our elected leaders to deliver that message loud and clear.”

“Hundreds of parents are leading the charge in Albany on behalf of the 100,000 families rooting for them back in New York City,” said Jeremiah Kittredge, CEO of Families for Excellent Schools. “They’re some of New York’s fiercest activists, and they’ll be making an impassioned case for their children’s right to equal funding and facilities.”

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Participating Schools:

Achievement First Apollo Elementary School

Achievement First Apollo Middle School

Achievement First Aspire Elementary School

Achievement First Brooklyn High School

Achievement First Brownsville Elementary School

Achievement First Brownsville Middle School

Achievement First Bushwick Elementary School

Achievement First Bushwick Middle School

Achievement First Crown Heights Elementary School

Achievement First Crown Heights Middle School

Achievement First East Brooklyn High School

Achievement First East New York Elementary School

Achievement First East New York Middle School

Achievement First Endeavor Elementary School

Achievement First Endeavor Middle School

Achievement First Linden Elementary School

Achievement First North Brooklyn Prep Elementary School

Achievement First University Prep High School

Achievement First Voyager Middle School

Brooklyn Prospect High School

South Bronx Classical 1

Coney Island Prep Elementary School

Coney Island Prep Middle School

Coney Island Prep High School

Icahn Charter School 3

Icahn Charter School 4

Icahn Charter School 5

Boys Prep Elementary School

Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School

Girls Prep Bronx Middle School

Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary School

Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School

Success Academy Flatbush

Success Academy Far Rockaway

Success Academy Bushwick

Success Academy Bronx 2

Bronx Charter for the Arts

Bronx Charter School for Excellence 1

Bronx Charter School for Excellence 2

Renaissance Charter School

VOICE Charter School

KIPP Academy Elementary

KIPP Academy Middle

KIPP NYC College Prep High School

KIPP Washington Heights Elementary

KIPP Washington Heights Middle

Bed-Stuy Collegiate

Brooklyn East Collegiate

Brownsville Collegiate

Excellence Boys Elementary Academy

Excellence Boys Middle Academy

Excellence Girls Elementary Academy

Excellence Girls Middle Academy

Kings Collegiate

Kings Elementary

Leadership Prep Bed-Stuy Elementary Academy

Leadership Prep Bed-Stuy Middle Academy

Leadership Prep Brownsville Elementary Academy

Leadership Prep Brownsville Middle Academy

Leadership Prep Canarsie Elementary Academy

Leadership Prep Canarsie Middle Academy

Leadership Prep Ocean Hill Elementary Academy

Leadership Prep Ocean Hill Middle Academy

Ocean Hill Collegiate

Uncommon Charter High School

Uncommon Collegiate Charter High School

Uncommon Prep Charter High School

Williamsburg Collegiate

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