New York City Organizing
Community organizing for school improvement in New York City emerged in the mid-1990s. By the late 1990s, organizing groups were exploring ways to expand beyond local school improvement efforts to advance systemic improvement agendas. With support from our Community Involvement Program at NYU, the field has grown to encompass roughly a dozen organizations and produced significant results – from replacing ineffective principals and superintendents to improvements in school overcrowding and school facilities. Currently, a dozen community organizations are working for school reform in New York City. These groups include not only experienced community organizing groups, but also community development and social service groups.
Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ)
CIP coordinates the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), a collaborative of community-based organizations and unions organizing the power of parents and community to create a more equitable educational system. CIP also coordinates the three parent- and community-led collaboratives that comprise CEJ: the Community Collaborative to Improve Bronx Schools (formerly the Community Collaborative to Improve District 9 Schools), the Brooklyn Education Collaborative, and the Brooklyn-Queens 4 Education Collaborative. Each collaborative unites public school parents, unions and community residents across a cluster of neighborhoods to work for improved educational outcomes.
Community Collaborative for the Bronx (CCB)
The Community Collaborative for Bronx Schools unites parents, neighborhood residents, and community based organizations in New York City Schools Region 1 in a movement to ensure that Bronx children receive the highest quality education.
CCB organizing group members include:
- South Bronx ACORN
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- Highbridge Center for Community Life
- Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council
- New Settlement Apartments Parent Action Committee
CCB’s platform for change calls for:
- A highly skilled, well-trained and stable teaching force
- Effective principals to lead the school change process
- Effective; family and community partnerships
- A collaborative review process with all stakeholders to monitor the implementation of the CCB platform.
Originally focused on District 9 in the Bronx, CC9 changed its name to CCB in 2004 to reflect its expansion to include Districts 7 and 10 in the northwest and central Bronx. CCB has received significant attention for its success in bringing the Lead Teacher Program to CCB-affiliated schools. In 2005, CCB schools achieved some of the largest 1-year gains in student achievement scores in the city.
For more information, contact Mili Bonilla
Brooklyn Education Collaborative (BEC)
Initiated in 2003, the Brooklyn Education Collaborative is a coalition of community residents, parents, educators, and union members in East Brooklyn, encompassing community school districts 18, 19, and 23 (The BEC Learning Zone). Though BEC members developed a comprehensive K-12 platform, BEC's initial organizing is focused on middle grade equity and school improvement. BEC recently secured basic science equipment for 45 schools with middle grades in the BEC Learning Zone, and is negotiating for state-of the art science labs in all middle schools without such labs.
BEC member organizations include:
- Brooklyn ACORN
- Cypress Hills Advocates for Education (CHAFE)
- 1199 Child Care Fund
- United Federation of Teachers
BEC believes that all children have the right to:
- A safe, orderly, and nurturing environment
- Curriculum that is rigorous, challenging, engaging, and fun
- A classroom with no more than 20 student in early grades and no more than 25 in grades 4-12
- A school building that is in good repair, well equipped, and clean
- Highly qualified teachers and principals
- Cultural and arts curriculum
- Sports and recreation programs
- Quality after-school programs
- State-of-the-art technology
- High expectations and the resources that enable them to be met
- A school culture that respects and welcomes families and communities
For more information, contact Barbara Gross
Brooklyn-Queens 4 Education (BQ4E)
In 2005, a new collaborative formed which unites parents, workers and community residents in the Bushwick and Queens neighborhoods that comprise the New York City Department of Education’s Region 4. Together, community organizations and unions are building a powerful constituency that represents diverse populations of parents and fights for equity and excellence throughout the region.
The BQ4E member organizations are:
- Latin American Integration Center
- Make the Road by Walking
- New York Civic Participation Project
BQ4E is focusing its initial organizing efforts on increasing funding for after-school programs.
The availability of these programs is a particularly acute need for immigrant parents, who not only work long hours, but often lack the English skills to help their children with homework. At current levels of funding, only one in five students in Region 4 has access to after-school programming. BQ4E has allied with advocacy groups in demanding that the city increase funding to provide sufficient, quality after-school programs to every child in Region 4 and citywide.
For more information, contact Megan Hester