In the News

October 28th, 2015

Coalition for Community School Excellence Launch

On October 27, 2015, a collaboration of community based organizations and educational advocacy groups announced the launch of the Coalition for Community School Excellence. The goal of the coalition is to ensure long-term success and sustainability for the community schools initiative by advocating for the needs of community schools and their leaders, families, and partner organizations. To celebrate the launch, partner organizations and the press toured P.S. 188, a school that exemplifies how community schools create positive change for high-needs students, families, and community members on the Lower East Side.


“Education advocates, school leaders and organizations have formed a new group called the Coalition for Community School Excellence, which will advise the city Department of Education on its new community schools. The DOE is in the process of opening at least 130 community schools, largely in low-income neighborhoods with social services for children and families, as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan for improving struggling schools. The Coalition is composed of diverse constituencies: it includes special education advocates such as Advocates for Children, the teachers’ union-backed group Alliance for Quality Education, local charter school Harlem RBI, and the Children’s Aid Society, among dozens of other groups.

A similar collection of advocates has been calling on the administration to formalize and strengthen its policies around community schools for nearly a year. Although the groups’ leaders are mainly de Blasio allies, some have privately expressed concerns about the city’s community schools plan. Up until just a few weeks ago, for example, the administration did not have an official policy around community schools, and informal policies did not include academic achievement as a primary goal of the program. Earlier this month, the city released a policy that includes academic improvement as a central tenet of the initiative. Advocates have also pushed the administration to define what ‘community schools’ — a national phenomenon praised particularly by teachers’ unions — mean in a New York City context. The DOE has since created a separate community schools office within the department.

The Coalition outlined another concern in its first press release on Tuesday: that of the tight deadline for community schools to show dramatic academic improvement. ‘The timeline for success is punishing,’ the press release reads. ‘Despite ample research showing that schools need at least 3-5 years to show improvement, many of these new community schools must show gains within one or two years or face being closed or reorganized.”


September 23rd, 2015

Community Schools Policy Rally


On September 22nd, 100 parents and community members rallied at City Hall in support of community schools as a long-term investment in struggling schools, testified about successes in their community schools, and called on the administration to pass a Community Schools Policy to guide implementation and ensure longevity. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery attended and announced that the Department of Education has presented the Panel for Educational Policy with a draft policy to be revised and voted on in the coming months. The event brought greater public awareness to the community schools initiative and showcased broad support from parents across the city for high-quality implementation and expansion. Speakers included parents from community schools, City Council Education Committee Chair Daniel Dromm, and other elected officials.

TRACKING EDUCATION: “A coalition of advocates — some of them aligned with New York City’s teachers’ union — are pushing for the passage of a concrete policy on community schools. The Coalition for Educational Justice held a rally on the steps of City Hall Tuesday afternoon to call on the Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy to approve a set of policies that would govern the city’s 130 new community schools. The policy seems to have buy-in from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration: deputy mayor Richard Buery spoke at the press conference. The policy, first crafted last year, seeks to formally define what a community school is and how such schools should be staffed and should operate. The PEP will vote on the policy at an upcoming meeting, likely in November.” — POLITICO New York’s Eliza Shapiro


December 18th, 2014

Citywide Community Schools Policy Release

Parents, Community Organizations and Elected Officials Propose Citywide Community Schools Policy

 press conf

About 100 parents, community partners and elected officials gathered on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at City Hall to announce a proposed policy to guide the expansion of community schools.

“CEJ is very excited for this new chapter in the community school movement. We have been advocating for community schools for years and now that we see them coming into fruition, parents and community school partners have worked together to draft a policy that establishes the vision and standards to guide them. We know that to be successful, community schools must be a combination of comprehensive services with rigorous academic curriculum and transformative parent and community engagement. This policy proposal can give the city a firm foundation for the expansion of community schools and will help ensure that for years to come there is clarity to how community schools should be done,” said Felicia Alexander, parent leader with the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice and organizer with Brooklyn Movement Center.

To learn more:
Press Release
Endorsing Organizations
Community Schools Policy
Community Schools Policy- Spanish

May 14th, 2014

Community Schools & Mayor De Blasio: Preparing the Next Generation for College & Careers

CEJ Community Schools Brief

CEJ’s brief “Community Schools & Mayor de Blasio: Preparing the Next Generation College & Careers” was designed to influence and shape Mayor de Blasio’s community schools initiative. The policy brief lays out recommendations for how de Blasio can follow through on his promise to create at least 100 community schools by the end of his first term. It discusses guiding principles for implementation of community schools, a three-year timeline and proposes an estimated $50 million budget and plan for engaging key stakeholders in rolling out the initiative.

April 12th, 2014

Parents Outraged Over Gov. Cuomo’s Meddling to Secure Privileges for Charters at Expense of Public Schools

Statement by the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, City’s Largest Parent-led Organization

(NY, NY)- Following today’s New York Times article, “Cuomo Played Pivotal Role in Charter Push,” revealing the Governor’s heavy-handed and direct meddling in state budget outcomes which gave charter schools special privileges, Jose Gonzalez, spokesperson for the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, released the following statement:

“As Black, Latino and immigrant parents, we applaud the increase in education funding and investment in universal pre-k, but are appalled by Governor Cuomo and the Senate Majority and their aggressive interference in NYC education policy.”

“When Governor Cuomo took office he vowed to be the “Student’s Lobbyist” and advocate for all students. Instead, the Governor has sold out to the corporate charter school lobby, which has given close to a million dollars for his re-election campaign as well as over $5 million on advertisements attacking Mayor de Blasio, and pushed through policies that give free reign of the public school system. If charter schools want to take space in a public school building, they will be able to.  If they don’t like the space, they can get a new one. If they want to expand, they can.”

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