New York, June 20, 2020 — PLACE NYC is the fastest growing parent advocacy group in New York City.  In a short period of time, we have built a five-borough base of engaged, passionate parents who are deeply invested in the education of their children and every child in our city.

PLACE NYC advocates for a high quality, challenging education for every student in all NYC DOE Public Schools by increasing the academic rigor of all school curricula. The parent leaders of PLACE NYC envision integrated classrooms of life-long learners wherein all students from across the entire spectrum of learning abilities are fully supported. We believe that accelerated curricula at all grade levels improve individual student outcomes, advance integration efforts and strengthen school quality.

We are excited to announce our inaugural slate of candidates we support for the June primary and look forward to getting to know more candidates before the general election in November. 

Elizabeth Crowley, Candidate for Queens Borough President (Queens)

Elizabeth Crowley is honored to receive endorsement from PLACE NYC, a passionate defender for Queens’ schoolchildren. Elizabeth is a former New York City Council member and the founder of two non-profit organizations. She is running for Queens Borough President because she believes Queens has not received its fair share — for too long Queens has ranked last in receiving funds compared to the other NYC boroughs on education, infrastructure, healthcare facilities, and mass-transit. Elizabeth has a wide variety of experience as a leader, from helping small businesses get financial help during economic downturns to pushing back against plans to close vital FDNY fire houses. As a city council member Elizabeth fought hard to add new schools in her district to deal with Queens’ enormous overcrowding issue, and will continue that fight to make sure the DOE has finished adding extra seats around the borough so that no child has to sit in an overcrowded classroom. Elizabeth stands with PLACE NYC in supporting the SHSAT test for our Specialized High Schools and backs the expansion of our gifted and talented programs. As your borough president Elizabeth will make sure the DOE works with accountability and transparency in Queens to make certain all schoolchildren are getting the education they deserve, even during this pandemic.

Jesse Hamilton, Candidate for New York Assembly, 43rd District (Brooklyn: Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and Flatbush)

I am proud that my first elected position was as the President of Community Board 17 in Brooklyn. We succeeded in turning PS161, one of the poorest schools in the state into one of the highest performing. However, the City soon undermined its success and test scores and other metrics fell. A few years later when I became a State Senator, I started The Campus, a wrap-around program bringing computer coding, science and cultural programming to Crown Heights, East Flatbush and Brownsville. I acted on the belief that students from the poorer neighborhoods can achieve excellence.  The low number of students at specialized high schools from Districts 17, 18, and 23 was the result of the adults not giving them the opportunities they need at the time. That’s why I organized SHSAT events in Crown Heights. That’s why I provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to schools like Medgar Evers College Prep. My goal is not to imitate schools like Stuyvesant, but to surpass them in Crown Heights and other neighborhoods.  We can do better, and PLACENYC has an important role to play in getting better results. 

Ron Kim, Candidate for New York State Assembly, 40th District (Queens: Flushing)

As the first Asian American to sit on the Education and Health Committees in the State Assembly, Ron Kim has fought to give immigrant parents and families direct access in shaping our policies. Instead of centralized bureaucrats determining what is best for our children, seniors, or the most vulnerable in our communities, we should be fighting every day to center our decisions on the needs of those who are directly impacted. Ron has fought tirelessly to increase our education budgets to make sure every child has access to a sound basic education and has voted against recent proposals to cut healthcare services. We have many challenges ahead but Assembly member Ron Kim is ready to take them on and deliver for all of our communities.

Grace Lee, Candidate for New York State Assembly, 65th District ( Manhattan: Lower East Side, Chinatown, South Street Seaport area, Financial District and Battery Park City)

Grace is a mother of three children, small business owner, and first-generation Asian American proud to call Lower Manhattan her home for nearly 15 years. She is the co-founder of Children First, a parent-led coalition group fighting for the safe cleanup of a toxic site located in the South Street Seaport across from two elementary schools. She is also a successful political organizer and entrepreneur, and the co-founder of Nine Naturals, a toxin-free beauty line for pregnant and new moms. Grace supports the continued use of the SHSAT for admission to the city’s specialized high schools and supports the expansion of gifted and talented programs with additional funding for more expansive preparation programs. As a mother, Grace believes that all children deserve the opportunity to receive quality education in every single one of New York City’s neighborhoods. Grace received her BA from Columbia University and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth, School of Business.

Nicole Malliotakis, Candidate for U.S. Congress, 11th District (Brooklyn/Staten Island, Kings County, Richmond County)

As an Assembly member, I have always stood strong advocating for a high quality education for every student in NYC DOE Public Schools. My parents were immigrants, from Greece and Cuba. They instilled in me the importance of education and quality schooling as I grew up in New York. It is part of our American Dream. Since joining the Assembly in 2011, where I served on the Education Committee, I have been a vocal advocate for preserving our Specialized High Schools and Gifted and Talented programs and worked with advocate groups to successfully push back on Mayor de Blasio’s attempt to dismantle them. We need more resources to support and increase these programs, rather than eliminate them. We have more kids who qualify for G&T programs, but there aren’t enough seats. We need to provide more seats, in every part of the city. For the kids who are failing, we need to fix that. It’s a disgrace that 50% of the kids in NYC schools are woefully unprepared in education. We need to prepare all our kids to learn at higher levels. I am running for Congress and will continue to fight for high quality education. I have and will continue to stand with PLACE NYC to ensure that all students have the opportunity to excel in the classroom with strengthened school quality.

Dan Quart, Candidate for New York State Assembly, 73rd District (Manhattan: Upper East Side, Midtown East, Turtle Bay and Sutton Place)

Dan Quart has represented the residents of the Upper East Side, Midtown East, Turtle Bay and Sutton Place in our State Assembly since 2011.  A highly visible presence in his District, Dan’s commitment to his constituents has never been more evident than during the COVID crisis, particularly in working with small businesses to ensure access to public funding.  The son of two public school teachers, no one has worked harder than Dan Quart to make sure that New York City Public Schools provide high quality, rigorous educational opportunities for New Yorkers of all races and ethnic backgrounds from Pre-K through graduate school.  During the 2018 and 2019 legislative sessions, Dan stood firmly behind and strongly advocated for the continued use of the SHSAT as the sole criterion for admission to our Specialized High Schools.  He supports the expansion of Gifted and Talented programs so that all of our kids can have the opportunity for access to the kind of challenging learning environments that can close the Opportunity and Achievement Gaps that are depriving too many of our kids of the chance for the high quality education that they all deserve.  PLACENYC is proud to endorse Dan Quart for re-election in 2020.

Aravella Simotas, Candidate for New York Assembly, 36th District (Queens: Astoria)

Aravella Simotas has proudly represented Queens families in the 36th District since 2011.  As a mother, she understands the need for high-quality schools and champions the right of every child to receive their appropriate education.  An advocate for all children, including those with special needs, advanced learners, and those who are both, Aravella consistently listens to parents and acts as a true public servant, representing the voices of her constituents.  She is not only an effective legislator, but a grassroots advocate for systemic change.  Giving back to the NYC public school system in which she was educated, Aravella puts her money where her mouth is, this year allocating over $5 million to District 30 schools for sorely needed bathroom, auditorium, and air conditioning upgrades.  The Assemblywoman joined with PLACE NYC to condemn the DOE when they shut parent voices out of decisions on the Covid-related grading policy.  She has long fought for the maintenance and expansion of Gifted and Talented programs, so that all children who require an accelerated learning environment have access.