STUDENTS ON STRIKE

December 05, 2019 at 5:00 am

New York City high school students recently staged a walk out to “strike for integration” and say they’ll continue to do so until they get it. “Teens Take Charge” alumnus and Program Director, Dulce Marquez and the program’s adviser, Taylor McGraw joins us.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on December 4, 2019. 

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>> ECONOMIC AND RACIAL
SEGREGATION.
ACCORDING TO THE NEW SCHOOL, 40%
OF NEW YORK CITY KINDERGARTNERS
ENROLLED IN SCHOOLS OUTSIDE
THEIR SCHOOL ZONE WITH THE HOPE
OF GETTING AN EQUAL CHANCE AT
SUCCESS, ALL PART OF THE SCHOOL
SUCCESS PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS
PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO CHOOSE
WHICH SCHOOLS TO ATTEND.
SINCE 2004, THOUSANDS HAVE
SWITCHED FROM LOW TO HIGHER
PERFORMING SCHOOLS.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SCHOOLS AND
COMMUNITIES THEY LEAVE BEHIND?
AS PART OF OUR "CHASING THE
DREAM INITIATIVE" ON POVERTY IN
AMERICA, WE'RE LOOKING AT A BOOK
CALLED "TEENS TAKE CHARGE"
DEDICATED TO ELEVATING THE
STUDENTS' CHOICES.
JACK SAT DOWN WITH TAYLOR McGRAW
AND MARQUEZ AND BEGAN ASKING HOW
THE PROGRAM GOT ITS START.
>> I WAS ORIGINALLY A
SCHOOLTEACHER IN NEW YORK CITY
AND RECOGNIZED PRETTY EARLY ON
THERE WAS A PROBLEM IN THAT THE
STUDENTS I WAS TEACHING DIDN'T
HAVE MUCH OF A VOICE IN THEIR
EDUCATION AND POLICIES AFFECTING
THEM.
AFTER I FINISHED TEACHING I
DECIDED I WANTED TO CHANGE THAT.
I LINKED UP WITH MY COFOUNDER,
ADRIAN AND DECIDED WE WANTED TO
DO A PODCAST AND I STARTED GOING
TO HIGH SCHOOLS IN NEW YORK
CITY, INTERVIEWING THEM ABOUT
THEIR EDUCATION.
AS I WAS DOING THIS WORK, THEY
SAID, HEY, TAYLOR, THIS IS COOL.
WE WANT TO DO MORE THAN A
PODCAST, WE WANT TO TELL PEOPLE
IN PERSON.
ABOUT 6 OR 8 STUDENTS LINKED UP
AND DECIDED TO PLAN AN EVENT.
ALONG THE WAY, THEY'RE LIKE, WE
SHOULD HAVE A NAME.
ONE OF THEM SAID, WE COULD BE
"TEENS TAKE CHARGE."
>> HOW HAS THE GROUP GROWN THEN?
YOU TALKED ABOUT HOW IT HAS
EXPANDED, BUT THE NUMBER OF
TEENS PARTICIPATING.
>> WE HAD 6 OR 8 IN THAT
ORIGINAL GROUP.
NOW, WE HAVE MORE THAN 30
STUDENTS IN SOME FASHION
INVOLVED IN TEENS TAKE CHARGE.
WE HAVE EVENTS, WE HAVE UPWARDS
OF 300 PEOPLE IN THOSE EVENTS.
>> HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH
THE TEENS TAKE CHARGE PROGRAM?
>> I'M PART OF THE SCHOLAR, THE
ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING FOR
STUDENTS LOW-INCOME OR DEFINE
THEMSELVES AS LOW-INCOME AND
TECHNICALLY, IT HELPS YOU
GRADUATE COLLEGE, NOT ONLY HIGH
SCHOOL BUT COLLEGE AND TAYLOR
WAS AN INSTRUCTOR.
HE CAME IN ONE AUGUST AND
INTRODUCED THE SENIOR CLASS,
UPCOMING SENIOR CLASS ABOUT
"TEENS TAKE CHARGE."
I BECAME INTERESTED WHEN HE
FIRST SAID NEW YORK CITY HAS THE
MOST SEGREGATED PUBLIC SCHOOL
SYSTEM IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY.
I THINK, I BELIEVE HE STARTED
OFF, WHICH FATE HAS IT, HE ASKED
THAT QUESTION.
>> DUST IT OUT.
WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN HE SAID
NEW YORK?
>> COMPLETELY SURPRISED.
YOU'RE KIND OF BORN INTO THE
SYSTEM AND YOU DON'T REALLY TAKE
A STEP BACK TO LOOK AT IT.
WHEN HE SAID THAT, IT WAS A
BLINDERS OFF THING.
I KNEW I HAD A LOT OF COMMENTS
DURING THAT TIME.
I THOUGHT, I HAVE TO GET
INVOLVED.
I HAD A CAMERA AND I TOLD
TAYLOR, I COULD BE YOUR
PHOTOGRAPHER, YOU KNOW.
>> ALL RIGHT.
YOU WENT ON TO BE THE PERSON IN
MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS AND YOU
TOLD ME ALL YOU DO IN SOCIAL
MEDIA.
I WILL COME BACK TO YOU.
LET'S COME BACK TO THE ISSUE
THAT WE INTRODUCED HERE IN TERMS
OF THE IDEA OF MOVING OUT OF
YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ZONE TO GO
SOME PLACE ELSE.
IN THEORY, SOUNDS LIKE A
MARVELOUS OPPORTUNITY, FIND A
BETTER SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT FOR
YOUR CHILDREN AND CHILDREN FOR
THEMSELVES.
WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN YOU SAW
THE RESULTS OF THE NEW SCHOOL
STUDY AND WHAT IT'S SUGGESTING
IN TERMS OF THE PERCENTAGE, HOW
MANY PEOPLE ARE LEAVING THEIR
SCHOOLS TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE?
>> I WASN'T SURPRISED BUT I KNEW
ABOUT THE ISSUE FOR A WHILE AND
TAUGHT AT A CHARTER SCHOOL AND
WHAT LOT OF FAMILIES ARE LEAVING
FOR.
I THINK YOUR QUESTION AT THE
BEGINNING WAS A GOOD ONE.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE SCHOOLS LEFT
BEHIND?
WHAT HAPPENS TO STUDENTS IN
SCHOOLS LOW PERFORMING KIDS ARE
LEAVING OUT OF.
WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SCHOOL
CHOICE, WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT IT
IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, BUT IN
FACT, REALLY, THE NATION'S
LARGEST EXPERIMENT IN SCHOOL
CHOICES HAPPENS IN NEW YORK
CITY'S HIGH SCHOOLS.
THERE ARE NO SCHOOL ZONES IN
HIGH SCHOOLS.
EVERY STUDENT IS EXERCISING
CHOICE WHEN IT COMES TO HIGH
SCHOOLS.
>> A NUMBER OF HIGH SCHOOLS,
CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG, A
NUMBER OF HIGH SCHOOLS HAVE AN
ACADEMIC COMPONENT TO GET IN TO
TEST AND GET INTO CERTAIN
PLACES.
HOW ABOUT YOUR SCHOOLS?
YOU'RE A SENIOR AND YOU WILL
GRADUATE, WHAT DID YOU SEE IN
TERMS OF THE RACIAL MIX OF YOUR
SCHOOLS AS YOU WERE GROWING UP?
>> I BELONG TO WHAT YOU CALL A
ZONE SCHOOL BECAUSE I ONLY LIVE
10 MINUTES AWAY, I WALK TO
SCHOOL EVERYDAY.
MOST OF THE STUDENTS THAT GO TO
MY SCHOOL, THEY LOOK LIKE ME,
THEY'RE LATINOS AND
AFRICAN-AMERICANS.
FOR ME, IT WOULDN'T BE A PROBLEM
IF I DIDN'T FEEL LIKE THE
RESOURCES OR THE OPPORTUNITIES
ARE VERY LIMITED.
>> IT'S AN INTERESTING ISSUE.
ON SOME SURFACES IT SOUNDS LIKE
A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR SOME
STUDENTS.
IT IS BUT WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE
LEFT BEHIND.
YOU ARE GRADUATING, HEADING OFF
TO NYU.
CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU AND TEENS
TAKE CHARGE AND TAYLOR,
HOPEFULLY THAT WILL CONTINUE TO
GROW BECAUSE WE NEED TO HEAR
YOUR VOICES OF YOUNG REASON.
THANK YOU FOR BOTH OF US.
YOU BOTH BE WELL.
>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.
>> THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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