Teens Take Charge leader, Dulce Marquez, reads her testimony at the Brooklyn Public Library March 29, 2018.

The Ones Left Behind

NYC students raise awareness of inequity in schools, present their solutions

Nov. 28, 2018 (NEW YORK) — Student activists in Teens Take Charge have organized “The Ones Left Behind,” an evening of student testimony at the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch December 3 from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. The event is designed to bring awareness and offer solutions to deep and persistent inequities in New York City schools.

Despite rising graduation rates, New York City’s public high schools remains some of the nation’s most segregated and inequitable. City data show that white and Asian students are more than twice as likely to graduate prepared for college as black and Hispanic peers.

“A lot of students are being left behind within our current system without realizing it,” says Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye, director of communications for Teens Take Charge. “Through this event, they will understand that these inequities affects all of us. In order to address the problem, we first need to know about it.”

Students will be joined on stage by New York Times investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, Brooklyn College professor Jeanne Theoharis and Community Service Society of New York youth policy director Lazar Treschan.

The event will begin with student testimony about how the public education system has failed to deliver on its promise of “equity and excellence” for all students — particularly students who come from underrepresented backgrounds. Hannah-Jones, Theoharis and Treschan will then offer their own testimony about the history of segregation in New York City schools and how that legacy has created present-day inequities.

After the testimony, adults and students will join together on stage to answer audience questions. Finally, members of the Teens Take Charge policy team will unveil the group’s newly adopted policy platform that calls for student representation on official Department of Education decision-making bodies and the integration of high schools, among other priorities.

“There are many high achieving students who get left behind within our school system,” says Coco Rhum, policy director for Teens Take Charge. “Our proposals will integrate schools racially and socioeconomically, and studies show that this will lead to benefits for all students within an academic setting.”

The event is free and open to the public, but guests must RSVP. Doors open at 6:00 p.m.


Teens Take Charge is a student-led coalition dedicated to providing students with a platform to achieve educational equity in New York City public schools. Members come from all five boroughs and more than 25 public high schools. For more information, please visit teenstakecharge.com.

Teens Take Charge is a program of The Bell (bellvoices.org).


Taylor McGraw (adult facilitator)


Ayana Smith (student press officer)