NEW YORK CITY — Parents, civil rights leaders, elected officials, clergy and advocacy groups held a spirited rally outside the NYC Department of Education Headquarters on Chambers Street today. The gathering protested a controversial television ad produced by “Families for Excellent Schools, a hedge-fund backed charter school front group.
At the rally were Dr Hazel Dukes, NYS NAACP, Bertha Lewis of The Black Institute, Bill Lipton from the Working Families Party, as well as leaders and members of the Alliance for Quality Education, the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, Make the Road New York, NY Communities for Change, the Strong Economy for All Coalition.
The ad is titled “A Tale of Two Boys,” and is directed at the to African American and Latino families whose children make up the majority of the students at the city’s charter schools. A statement released at the rally criticized “the hypocrisy of the ad” given that FES “has actively opposed educational equity by working against fair funding for schools that serve high need students.”
The Alliance for Quality Education has led the fight for fair funding for more than a decade. Despite a favorable New York Court of Appeals ruling in 2006, opposition in the Republican-controlled State Senate and inaction on the part of Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo have prevented that fair funding from materializing. “Governor Cuomo gets failing marks in all areas of his education policy, even though he is skilled at rhetoric and helping his billionaire donors get a good return on their investment,” reads his “report card” on the AQE website.