In 2004, young people in the Bronx and Brooklyn experienced a dramatic, top-down restructuring of large high schools. Without opportunities to provide input, students were kept out of all decision-making structures and silenced. After the final centralization of the Department of Education under the Mayor Bloomberg Administration, students were furthered pushed away from the decision-making table.
No longer were young people able to win local school improvement victories. No longer were local superintendents able to meet the demands of organized students.
Frustrated with the school overcrowding and safety problems on their campuses, and connected through common struggles in their neighborhood schools, youth leaders from Bushwick and the Northwest Bronx began organizing a citywide force of young people to create a unified student voice their education: the Urban Youth Collaborative.