The Problem

New York schools are overcrowded and under-resourced

Schools throughout the state have been underfunded for years. In New York City alone, schools are owed $1.6 billion dollars in state funding. The public school funding system creates inequality between districts; wealthy areas with higher property taxes end up with more money for schools than poor ones. Our lawsuit with the Campaign for Fiscal Equality (CFE) showed that New York State is systematically underfunding New York City and other urban districts, but the state funding allocated to fix this has been withheld for a decade. 

Our schools are bursting at the seams, especially in low-income and immigrant communities, making it difficult for students to get the instructional time they need to succeed. In the coming years, New York City schools will be missing as many as 50,000 seats. And in an environment with more police officers than guidance counselors, youth trying to pursue their education often face harsh disciplinary measures, that can even lead to an encounter with the criminal justice system — a process known as the school-to-prison pipeline.

See the solution
The Solution

Schools that serve our communities

Make the Road New York’s Education Justice Project improves public schools for students and their families—crucial work in a city where only 13% of black and Latinx high school students graduate ready for college. MRNY’s parent committees and youth leaders work to relieve public school overcrowding, secure the resources our students need, and support parents and students in claiming a bigger voice in their educations. Our Youth & School Programs work to expand restorative justice and community school models in New York.

MRNY is organizing with allies to urge New York State to finally deliver overdue funds to public schools this year. We advocate for culturally responsive education that connects with the lived experiences of students, ensuring that the curriculum meets their needs. MRNY also advocates at the city, state and national level to increase funding for adult literacy so that families — and entire communities — can meet their educational and career goals. 

seats added
to a public school in Corona, Queens, one of the city's most overcrowded districts, after MRNY organized with parents
Fast Facts
  • MRNY’s parent committees meet regularly to drive campaigns at the district, city and state levels.
  • Our organizing with allies secured the construction of a new middle school on 111th Street and Astoria Boulevard.
  • Our report, “Where’s My Seat?”, uses statistical analysis to reveal the scale of the overcrowding crisis in New York City, especially in immigrant communities, and calls on the state to fully fund our schools.
Meet Diana

Diana Zarumeno, Make the Road New York member

Diana’s five year-old daughter was in kindergarten at PS81 in Ridgewood. Diana was concerned because her daughter had to study in an annex that was filled with students beyond its recommended capacity. She felt that her daughter was neither getting the attention she needed to learn nor the physical environment she needed to thrive, so Diana took action with MRNY. She shared her story in our report “Where’s My Seat” and joined our Parents in Action Committee to improve school conditions for all children.

Demand good schools for all!

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