Beth Milne is a past member of the 50CAN team. 

As a teacher in New York, I sold my kids a dream. I told them that if they worked hard and played nice that this education thing would work out for them. That they could go to college and achieve the American Dream.

But we all know that this dream is a fantasy for too many of New York’s kids. Our system is failing them.

That’s why I am so proud today to announce the official launch of NYCAN: The New York Campaign for Achievement Now. NYCAN is our statewide effort to reclaim the American dream for New York’s children.

Despite graduating second in my class at Hempstead High School on Long Island, when I started at nearby Hofstra University I was told I could not write at the college level. If it hadn’t been for a few professors who worked tirelessly to fill the gaps in my knowledge, I would have been another college dropout.

NYCAN was created for the children who aren’t as lucky as I was. We are building a movement of New Yorkers with the political will to create the change we need in our public schools. Our inaugural legislative campaign, The Empire State Strikes Back, will bring New Yorkers together to push for three commonsense reforms to do just that.

Change is hard. Fundamental change only happens in those rare moments when the public demands that our public officials take the risks necessary to push past the stiff resistance of the status quo.

You can take the first steps to strike back against the status quo today:

  • Join the movement. Sign up to receive updates on how you can be a champion for our public schools.
  • Get the facts. Read our just-published report, The State of New York Public Education, and check out our school report cards to see how your school stacks up against others in the state.
  • Join the campaign. Visit to find out more about our 2012 policy goals.
  • Spread the word. Tell your friends and family about NYCAN and ask them to join the movement.

There’s no excuse for a child not to learn in this state. There’s just not. With your help we will give all New York children access to a great public school. And great schools will change everything: our community, our economy, the hopes and dreams of our children. Please join me.

Christina Grant is the founding executive director of NYCAN. You can follow her (@christinamgrant) and NYCAN (@ny_can) for the latest on New York’s education reform movement.


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