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Brooklyn, NY

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#TeensTakeCharge • Students

Meet the six students who started the student-led coalition, Teens Take Charge. Just what are they setting out to tackle?

The New York City public school system is the nation’s largest (1,800 schools and 1.1 million students), but it's also one of the most segregated by race & class:

  • One-third of schools have student enrollments that are at least 95% black or Hispanic.
  • Nearly a quarter of students attend schools at which 100% of kids qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, an indicator of economic need.

This degree of racial and socioeconomic segregation contributes to large gaps in school quality, student performance, & future outcomes:

  • The pass rate for white and Asian students on state math tests is about triple the rate of their black and Hispanic peers.
  • Just 57% of Bronx high school students earn a Regents diploma in four years, well shy of the city average. 

While statistics can provide a sense of a bigger picture, Teens Take Charge hopes to put students’ stories at the center of the conversation to inspire new action:

“It's easy to feel powerless in an education system where you are treated like the piece of a puzzle; where your intelligence is measured by a series of structured exams,” said Haby Sondo, 17, who lives in the South Bronx. “Come to our event to bring a voice to your unique story and to serve as proof that your education is more complex than a standardized exam.”

Since starting, the group has doubled in size, and now represents every borough. If you are a student who wants to be involved, email teenstakechargenyc@gmail.com.