September 27th, 2013

CEJ Announces $5 Million WIN for Supports Following Test Score Drop

NYC Coalition for Educational Justice Announces $5 Million Win for Supports Following Test Score Drop

Parents Successfully Push DOE to Address Record Number of Struggling Students With New Parent-Teacher Collaboration Initiative

(New York, NY)— Following this year’s dramatic test score drop that left over 300,000 students scoring below proficiency, parent leaders from the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (NYC CEJ); representatives from the United Federation of Teachers; Senior Deputy Chancellor Shael Suransky; and City Council Education Committee Chair Robert Jackson announced an innovative and immediate parent-teacher collaboration initiative.

The initiative, designed, fought for and won by parents, is a $5 million commitment of new money from the Dept. of Education, to build collaboration between the parents and teachers of struggling students to review the new standards, understand children’s strengths and weaknesses and learn ways to support academic growth at home. The full commitment is below.

“It’s a new day and we’re entering a new era– not ‘Yes, We Can’ its ‘Yes, We Did! We came up with a plan, did the research and we never imagined in a million years the DOE would commit $5 million to help struggling students, but they did. It means parents, students and communities have a chance to win a lot more,” said Natasha Capers, leader with the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice.

“We did this work together to think about the right strategy. We all know that we can do better for our kids in New York City. Our kids need more writing, need to learn to read more difficult books, think critically and question the world around, be creative, they need a well, rounded, and a full curriculum that is rich and engaging. That is the work that will begin with this initiative, and we hope every parent will take advantage of this,” said Shael Suransky, Senior Deputy Chancellor at the Dept. of Education.

“This is a victorious beginning. We are beginning to set an example to rest of the country for what real parent engagement and what strong relationships with teachers can look like. We sat at at the table with the Dept. of Education to create something that will have a lasting impact for parent engagement,” said Ocynthia Williams parent leader with United Parents of Highbridge and the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice.

“As parents we want to be engaged and want to learn how to support our children so they can do succeed in school. The little pieces of advice that I have gotten from child’s teacher have made all the difference—they tell me words to practice with them or games they can play to improve their skills. Having a 30-minute meeting with my child’s teachers to help identify where they need help will make a huge difference,” said Rocio Espada, leader with Make the Road New York and the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice.

The program makes available $5 million in new resources, and leverages existing resources and partnerships to:

Make possible 30-minute conversations between teachers and parents of ALL students scoring a L1 or L2, with the goal of: 

1) Explaining students’ 2013 State Common Core test score results; and

2) Engaging families in conversations for how to support children at home in their learning.

Develop related communications materials

In tandem with the Expect Success guides and the Common Core Library, DOE will strengthen existing materials and align new resources with the larger structure for engaging the community. We will leverage existing work and partnerships with community organizations to achieve this goal.

Design and make available training and prep for teachers and school-based staff

Together with CEJ, DOE can design and make available trainings for teachers and all school-based staff through an integrated approach of in-person support, webinars, online materials, and borough-based trainings that review available materials, frequently asked questions, and likely scenarios. DOE can also offer support to principals by making available additional per session dollars, materials, and training.

Proposed implementation timeline – 90 days:

The DOE will move swiftly to address this time-sensitive matter, but also proposes a sustainable strategy for long-term engagement. This includes strengthening a system-wide structure for reinforcing meaningful community engagement, which would include regular, ongoing conversations and resources made available to all constituents.