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New York City Parents Set to Rally for Quality Schools

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Thousands of parents are expected to attend a rally Thursday in New York City to pressure civic and education leaders to fix the city's failing schools.

Jeremiah Kittredge, the chief executive officer of Families for Excellent Schools, which is organizing the event, told Education Week the group wants to create a greater awareness surrounding the city's "education crisis." Families for Excellent Schools, a city-based advocacy group and charter school proponent, released a report in July, showing that at nearly a quarter of New York City public schools, 90 percent of the students are not reading or doing math at grade level. Those failing schools are mostly found in the city's poor, minority neighborhoods, according to the report.

"We're worried about the 143,000 students trapped in failing schools," Kittredge said. "We see a very small number of quality district and charter schools [in New York City.] Everyone should have access to a great school."

In conjunction with the rally, Families for Excellent Schools also mounted a multimedia citywide advertising campaign called "Don't Steal Possible," to heighten the sense of urgency surrounding the need for quality schools in New York City. 

The Coalition for Education Equality, which represents more than 90 district and charter schools along with parents and advocacy groups, is participating in the rally being held in Foley Square in lower Manhattan Thursday. Kittredge said the coalition is calling on the city to develop a plan to immediately remedy these failing schools' pervasive problems. He said it will take "bold change" to make a difference in the city's schools. Kittredge called recent reports that Chancellor Carmen Fariña will abandon the school district's A-F school grading system, a "huge step backward," in the city's efforts to improve struggling schools.

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