December 3, 2018

“The Ones Left Behind”

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Teens Take Charge returned to the Brooklyn Central Library’s Dweck Cultural Center for an evening of testimony about the hundreds of thousands of students being left behind in New York City public schools. An estimated 250 guests packed into the auditorium, and dozens more watched a simulcast in the lobby. Seventeen students, including Youth Poet Laureate Camryn Bruno, told stories about inequitable access to sports and special education services, discrimination and bullying, resource disparities, unfair admissions policies, and lots more.

Following the student performances, adult experts Nikole Hannah-Jones, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis, and Lazar Treschan shared their own testimony and then took questions on a student-adult panel.

Finally, policy team members Coco Rhum and Lennox Thomas described our campaigns for high school admissions reform and democratic student representation before unveiling a comprehensive policy platform with more than two dozen recommendations divided into eight issue areas.

 Group photo taken by Brent Adams

Group photo taken by Brent Adams

 Toby Paperno describes how a diverse middle school experience helped him appreciate the privileges he had – and inspired him to advocate for the students who are being left behind.  Photo by Julian Giordano

Toby Paperno describes how a diverse middle school experience helped him appreciate the privileges he had – and inspired him to advocate for the students who are being left behind. Photo by Julian Giordano

 Tiffani Torres (left) and Sophie Mode (right) present spoken word testimony about the differences in their school experiences.  Photo by Julian Giordano

Tiffani Torres (left) and Sophie Mode (right) present spoken word testimony about the differences in their school experiences. Photo by Julian Giordano

 Event emcee Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye kicked off the event by reflecting on the false promises of the American Dream.  Photo by Julian Giordano

Event emcee Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye kicked off the event by reflecting on the false promises of the American Dream. Photo by Julian Giordano

 Muhammad Deen performed a spoken word piece about how schools just a few bus stops apart offer students vastly different opportunities.  Photo by Julian Giordano

Muhammad Deen performed a spoken word piece about how schools just a few bus stops apart offer students vastly different opportunities. Photo by Julian Giordano

 
 New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones shares her thoughts about school segregation in New York City.   Left to Right:    Yousof Abdelreheem, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis, Hannah-Jones, Lazar Treschan, Coco Rhum, Muhammad Deen.  Photo by Julian Giordano

New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones shares her thoughts about school segregation in New York City.

Left to Right: Yousof Abdelreheem, Dr. Jeanne Theoharis, Hannah-Jones, Lazar Treschan, Coco Rhum, Muhammad Deen. Photo by Julian Giordano

 

May 17, 2018

"A Day in Our Shoes"

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On the 64th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling, 27 education policymakers, including six elected officials, took part in morning school visits at 21 schools across four boroughs. They met with students, sat in on classes and discussed issues of race and equity in our schools.

At 1:00 p.m., a group of 76 policymakers, students, and educators joined us for a luncheon to commemorate the anniversary with a commitment to action. In addition to several student leaders, we heard inspiring words from NYC DOE chief operating officer Ursulina Ramirez, NAACP Legal Defense Fund senior counsel Rachel Kleinman and City Council Member Ritchie Torres.

More than 40 adults signed commitment cards to meet with Teens Take Charge student leaders, share our Enrollment Equity Proposal and/or host focus groups with high school students in their districts before the end of 2018.

 

Teens Take Charge members were joined by lots of adult policymakers, including professors Amy Hsin (left) and Maya Wiley, two members of the School Diversity Advisory Group's executive committee.

Guests listen intently to student presenters at the luncheon.

Teens Take Charge leader Dulce Marquez speaks at the #StillNotEqual press conference on the steps of Tweed Courthouse.

Left to right: Principal Henry Zymeck, TTC facilitator Taylor McGraw, Panel for Educational Policy member Michael Kraft, TTC policy team leader Jorge Morales, Councl Member Helen Rosenthal

Lead event planner Muhammad Deen delivers a spoken word piece titled "School Segregation" to end the luncheon.


MARCH 29, 2018

"We regret to inform you"

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A standing-room-only crowd packed into Brooklyn Central Library's Dweck Center for our third event, "We Regret to Inform You," which addressed inequities in the high school admissions process, a key driver of high school segregation. Students from across the city shared personal testimony about their experiences going through that process, and the unequal outcomes. But we didn't just focus on the problem. Members of our policy team shared a set of policy proposals that would promote integration by increasing academic diversity across the system. After the policy presentation, student and adult leaders discussed the enrollment issues in depth and agreed to take action to address them.

Big thanks to our adult panelists:

  • Panel for Education Policy Member April Chapman

  • City Council Member Brad Lander

  • Community Service Society Youth Policy Director Lazar Treschan

Read about the event: EdWeek | Mic.com | Chalkbeat | Long Island Report 


SEPT. 19, 2017

"Education Roundtable" 

After being featured in the New York Times for our April kick-off event, we returned with an evening of unforgettable student testimony at the historic Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. After the opening performances, politicians and school officials joined the students on stage for a candid conversation about the most pressing issues in the New York City public school system.

Adult panelists included:

  • NY State Assemblyman Michael Blake

  • NY State Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa

  • NYC Department of Education Chief Operating Officer Ursulina Ramirez

  • City Council Member Brad Lander

  • Young Men's Initiative Executive Director Cyrus Garrett

  • District 8 Superintendent Karen Ames

 

Official Sponsors and PartnersThe Bell, Education Reform Now, JMD Foundation, HandwrittenNew York City Education Council ConsortiumOrganizing for Action, New York, YVoteAlliance for School Integration and Desegregation


April 28, 2017 

"To whom it should Concern"

Our inaugural event featured testimony from a dozen students on educational inequity. Students read open letters, rapped, and performed spoken word poetry before an enthusiastic audience of policymakers, educators, and community members.

The evening's theme was "To Whom it Should Concern," a signal to people in power to pay closer attention to the issues students describe. 

Below are a few videos and images from the event.

 Teens Take Charge members discuss educational inequity during an all-student panel at the launch event April 28 in the Bronx.

Teens Take Charge members discuss educational inequity during an all-student panel at the launch event April 28 in the Bronx.