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Know Your Rights
Source: Gotham Gazette
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Assignments for the New Chancellor

Working Together to Help Students

Chancellor Joel Klein had some accomplishments running our schools but he is also leaving behind 239,000 students who are not reading or doing math on grade level. After the recent test score debacle, 27 percent more of the city’s students were not reading on grade level than they were in 2008, and 28 percent more of our students weren’t doing math on grade level. For immigrant students, the trauma of the department’s failure is devastating: 14 percent of English Language Learners are on grade level for English language arts, compared to 35 percent in 2008.

Cathie Black is stepping into an incredibly hard role. Parents and students with our organization and others throughout the city have been working for years to secure the resources and support that our schools need. We look forward to building a strong relationship with the new chancellor, but one that is based on mutual respect. It is essential that Black immediately begin meeting with organizations like ours in order to establish a respectful and productive working relationship. She will not be able to do a good job without parents and students at her side.

For those students who did not fare well on their recent tests, Black needs to provide Academic Intervention Services. We need all of our students reading on grade levels.

She needs to work with communities to ensure that any reforms that the department puts into place, such as restructuring or closing schools, will be likely to work. Our communities are tired of seeing schools closed and re-opened, our students shuffled around, or shoved out of school into the streets, with no clear accountability for making sure these reforms really work. We need schools that provide all of our students a path to college and careers. We also need to make sure that students with limited proficiency in English are not forgotten off but real support is provided to them and their families for them to strive.

— Javier H. Valdes, deputy director, Make the Road New York