Press Release

Project aims to increase public awareness and engagement about key education equity issues 

NEW YORK – With school board elections this spring impacting more than 650,000 low-income students and more than 580,000 students of color, The Education Trust–New York is launching ‘For the Students’ to increase public awareness and engagement about key education achievement and equity issues in New York.

The nonpartisan project includes a web site – forthestudentsny.org – where voters can learn about critical education equity issues and steps every school board member can take to advance equity and achievement around these key issues.

The project focuses on five key issues:

  • Access to rigorous courses that prepare students for college and careers;
  • Graduation pathways and the high school diploma;
  • How to allocate resources to support the students with the greatest needs;
  • Access to strong, well-supported, and diverse educators; and
  • Suspensions and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Ed Trust–NY will distribute information about these issues to candidates running for office across New York State. The organization will also invite candidates in a number of key districts to complete a questionnaire focused on these issues and publish their responses as they become available. Ed Trust–NY will partner with civil rights, education, parent, and business organizations to disseminate nonpartisan information on these issues and the candidate responses.

Voters can sign up to receive updates on those races at forthestudentsny.org.

In most New York school districts, elected school boards run our schools. Their members establish the district’s values and determine the allocation of resources, including making the most important human capital decisions. Their work can ensure that a child’s zip code and circumstances do not have to determine her future, and build education systems with the transformative power to close opportunity and achievement gaps.

“School board members are key leaders in the fight for education equity across New York, and this year’s elections offer an opportunity to focus the public discussion on some of the issues that matter most in ensuring all students are prepared for a successful future,” said Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–New York.

“During this year’s Buffalo school board election, all registered voters in the City of Buffalo have the right to vote in one of the most important elections of this decade for our city,” said Brenda McDuffie, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Buffalo Urban League. “The school board election is an opportunity to talk about the issues that can ensure all children receive the quality education they need and deserve for their futures, and the future of this city.”

“We as a community need to do a better job preparing all of our students for a successful future, and the upcoming school board election offers an opportunity for parents and voters to have their voices heard and engage candidates on these critical equity issues,” said Gladys Pedraza-Burgos, Chief Operations Officer at Ibero-American Action League in Rochester. “We are committed to raising awareness of these important issues, and working with our partners to engage more parents and voters in this year’s election.”

“We must act with urgency to address the equity issues that persist in our city schools, and it is imperative that this school board election be a conversation about achievement and ensuring all students have access to the resources and opportunities that will set them on the path to a bright future,” said Adrian Hale, Senior Manager for Workforce/Economic Development and Education Initiatives at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce. “Along with clearly understanding their role as board members, elected officials need to take seriously their responsibility to eliminate the barriers that block all too many students from reaching their full potential.”

“Ensuring all students have access to the educational opportunities that will prepare them for success in college and careers is critical not just here in Westchester County, but across New York State,” said Sorraya Sampson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Westchester County. “And school board members can play a critical role improving access and opportunities for all students, particularly those who have been historically underserved by our education system.”

This is a nonpartisan project that will not endorse candidates or engage in any other political activity.