Civil rights, education, parent & business groups commend NYSED for new guidance on improving equitable access to advanced coursework

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Key stakeholders respond to report finding that Latino and Black students across New York are denied access to critical college- and career-prep courses

NEW YORK – More than 500 parents, educators, and community leaders across New York are calling on state education officials to take steps to ensure that all students have access to the critical courses that will prepare them for success in college, careers, and civic life.

The groundswell of support follows the release of a report by The New York Equity Coalition that identified significant disparities in access to a range of important middle and high school courses for students of color. Statewide, schools enroll White students an average of two times more frequently than their Latino and Black peers in a range of key course offerings, and nearly three times more often in critical advanced courses like Advanced Placement Math and Science.

“Ensuring all students have access to the courses that will set them up for success in the future is critical not just from a social justice perspective, but an economic one,” said The Honorable Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes, New York State AssemblyDistrict 141. New York’s long-term success is dependent on all students leaving high school with the skills they need to thrive in college and the workplace. It is imperative that state education leaders act quickly to ensure that these opportunities are available for all students.”

Hundreds of New Yorkers have now signed on to the 5×25 Commitment, which lays out 5 Commitments to every student in the Graduating Class of 2025 – an agenda for success starting with the cohort of students who are entering sixth grade in Fall 2018.

Those commitments are:

  • COMMITMENT 1: All students, families, and educators will have accurate and timely information, support, and help to access a rich and robust course experience in their school.
    • HOW: Leverage the state’s new accountability system to enhance transparency and implement school improvement strategies that support equitable access to rigorous courses.
  • COMMITMENT 2: All students and families will have the information and support to pursue rigorous college- and career-prep pathways.
    • HOW: Require that families receive better information and expand access to school counselors and other resources.
  • COMMITMENT 3: Every student will receive rich and rigorous instruction that prepares them for success after high school graduation.
    • HOW: Establish a default college- and career- prep course sequence that all students are automatically enrolled in, backed by high expectations and support for educators and students.
  • COMMITMENT 4: Every student will be able to earn college credit and/or participate in work-based learning opportunities before they graduate from high school.
    • HOW: Expand access to AP, IB, dual enrollment courses, proven programs like P-TECH, and employer-based internships and other connections to colleges and employers.
  • COMMITMENT 5: High school graduation requirements will match modern-day expectations for college, career, and civic readiness.
    • HOW: Update New York’s course requirements for high school graduation, including by adding a fourth year of math.

Within Our Reach: An agenda for ensuring all New York students are prepared for college, careers, and active citizenship explained that addressing these challenges is integral to achieving equity in New York’s education system.

“We believe that all students deserve every opportunity possible to hone the knowledge and skills that will allow them to be successful in college and the workforce,” said Dr. Luvelle Brown, Superintendent of the Ithaca School District and co-chairman of the New York State Council of School Superintendents Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. “That’s why the Ithaca schools have committed to expanding access to the rigorous courses that will set our students up for future success, and we look forward to working with state leaders to ensure that all students across New York have these opportunities.”

“As educators, we are committed to ensuring that all of the students we serve have every opportunity to be successful – both while they’re in our classrooms and once they graduate from high school,” said Dr. L. Oliver Robinson, Superintendent of Shenendehowa School District and co-chairman of the New York State Council of School Superintendents Commission on Diversity and Inclusivity. “In order to ensure their future success, we need to provide them with ample opportunities to participate in rigorous courses that will prepare them for success in college, the workforce, and beyond.”

“In signing on to the 5×25 Commitment, parents, teachers, and community leaders across New York State have voiced loud and clear what they want for their children,” said Samuel L. Radford III, Director of Better Schools Better Neighborhoods and President of the District-Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo“Our state’s economic success is dependent on ensuring all students leave high school with the skills they need to be successful in college, careers, and civic life. We are proud to have leaders in Buffalo like Assemblywoman Peoples-Stokes and Dr. Cash who are both responsive to what parents know will help their children be successful, and committed to using their power to create more opportunities for all students to access rigorous courses.”

Visit to learn more about the campaign.

The coalition includes Better Schools Better Neighborhoods, Brooklyn YWCA, the Buffalo Urban League, The Business Council of New York State, Business Council of Westchester, Capital Region Chamber, Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Democrats for Education Reform-NY, District-Parent Coordinating Council of Buffalo, The Education Trust–New York, Educators for Excellence, EPIC-Every Person Influences Children, High Achievement New York, Hispanic Federation, National Center for Learning Disabilities, New York Urban League, Otsego County Chamber of Commerce, Public Policy Institute of New York State, the Read Alliance, UnidosUS, United Way of New York City, the Urban League of Rochester, and the Urban League of Westchester County.