The Problem

New York schools are overcrowded and under-resourced

Due to systemic underfunding by the state, our schools are overcrowded and bursting at the seams, making it difficult for students to get the instructional time they need to succeed. Harsh and punitive school climates are another problem: Our schools have more police officers than guidance counselors and youth face disciplinary measures that put them in the school-to-prison or school-to-deportation pipeline, rather than on track to college.

To make matters worse, immigrant parents face obstacles to being fully involved in their children’s education, including language barriers, unaddressed legal or health issues, and a shortage of adult education programs in their communities.

See the solution
The Solution

Schools and programs that serve our communities

Make the Road New York’s Education Justice Project improves public schools for students and their families. Our parent committees and youth leaders work to relieve public school overcrowding, secure the resources our students need, and support parents and students in claiming a bigger voice in their education.

Our Youth & School Programs work to expand restorative justice practices to transform ineffective punitive policies into opportunities for growth and improve school climate. We have been at the forefront of the national movement for community schools. Our Bushwick community school provides wraparound services for students and their families including legal and health support, enabling students to thrive, and providing a model for New York City. Our Student Success Centers,  designed and led by trained youth leaders, provide one-on-one and group guidance for the college application and matriculation process. As a result, 85% of participants are accepted to college every year. Recognizing the success of our model, NYC has replicated it across five boroughs. Today, there are 34 schools with Student Success Centers, collectively serving 17,000 students.

Our Adult Literacy team works to secure the resources needed by adult learners across New York seeking English, High School Equivalency, Citizenship, Computer Literacy classes and Job Training programs.

seats added
to PS 143 in Corona, Queens, one of the city's most overcrowded districts.
Fast Facts
  • Our Student Success Center model helps 85% of participants get accepted to college each year.
  • Our Bushwick community school and restorative justice work are serving as models for New York City.
  • We secured the construction of a new middle school on 111th Street and Astoria Boulevard with our allies.
  • In response to our efforts, the city created a Translation and Interpretation Services Unit at all schools. Now parents with limited English can communicate reliably with school administrators and teachers.
Meet Diana

Diana Zarumeno’s daughter, a kindergartener at PS 81 in Ridgewood, was forced to study in an annex that was not only jammed with 35 students rather than the recommended 28, but also lacked basic necessities like air conditioning and a water fountain. Diana knew her five-year-old daughter could not learn or thrive under such conditions. To give her the education and school she deserved, Diana took action with Make the Road New York. She shared her horrifying story — which mirrors the outrageous school environments that so many children are forced to endure — in our report, “Where’s My Seat”, and joined our Parents in Action Committee to fight for better school conditions for all children.

Demand good schools for all!

Related Links

Peer-Led College Access Programming
Read more
Leadership Development
Read more
Youth & School Programs
Read more

Related Press


NYC school budgets in limbo with start of classes weeks away

Many parents and educators are hopeful that the court action will result in the restoration of funds for schools. But the ongoing legal process has also added to uncertainty as principals try to plan for the fall… On Monday, Marilyn Mendoza, an organizer with Make The Road New York, confronted Adams outside an event at…

News 12

Make The Road NY re-launches guide to help immigrants with ICE

Make The Road New York, an immigrant-focused organization, re-launched its Deportation Defense Manual to help undocumented immigrants deal with Immigration Customs Enforcement. The guide is broken into three parts – knowing your rights, responding to raids and defending yourself.


Make the Road New York hosts Jackson Heights back-to-school drive for families in need

Marilyn Mendoza, an education justice organizer with MRNY, pointed out that her community was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic last year and saw a lot of tragedy. “We saw a lot of members pass away due to COVID. People are still trying to get back on their feet,” Mendoza said. “We want to help…