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11.14.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Some also pointed out that the information is difficult to find. The city’s official high school directory only says whether schools are “accessible” or “not accessible,” a potentially misleading indicator given that most schools fall somewhere in between. And the city’s “School Finder” site, essentially a digital version of the directory, does not link to the new accessibility data, though a spokesman said that information will be included in future updates. “This is all really, really valuable information,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children. “But if families don’t have a way of getting to it easily, it doesn’t do them a whole lot of good.”... Still, there are significant upsides to the new data — and not just for parents. More detailed information about building infrastructure could help the city better-allocate capital funding to schools that might only need modest improvements to become significantly more accessible, Moroff said. The city’s current five-year capital plan includes $100 million for such improvements. Read article

11.09.2017 | Chalkbeat New York |  Maggie Moroff, a special-education policy expert at Advocates for Children, a New York City-based group that opposes the waiver, said she recognizes how frustrating it can be for students with disabilities to sit for exams they find extremely difficult and are unlikely to pass. Nonetheless, “the waiver would give schools the opportunity to lower standards for students with disabilities,” she said, “instead of rising to the occasion.” Read article

11.01.2017 | New York Times | Tens of thousands of New York City public school children did not receive mandated special education services last year, the education department said in its annual report to the City Council on Wednesday, offering further evidence that eligible children are not getting the education the city is obligated to provide... Maggie Moroff, the special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children of New York, said that the lack of support for special education students shows up in their academic results, including standardized test scores. “Kids with disabilities are doing far worse than kids in general education, and far worse than they could be doing if they were getting all the special education supports they should be getting,” Ms. Moroff said. Read article

11.01.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Advocates acknowledged that the data shows more students receiving all of their services. But that still leaves over 48,000 students, or 27 percent, getting partial support or none at all, the advocates noted. “That’s really significant,” said Maggie Moroff, a disability policy expert at Advocates for Children. “That’s an entire school district somewhere else.” Read article

10.11.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children, said in an interview that the city is moving in the right direction — just not quickly enough. As an example, she pointed out that more than 150 schools have populations where at least 10 percent of students live in shelters — yet the city is only sending 43 extra social workers to schools with high homeless populations. The city should raise that number to 100, she said. “The city has taken considerable steps,” Levine said. “But the statistics show the significant need for the city to redouble its efforts.” Read article

10.10.2017 | New York Daily News |  A record 111,562 homeless students attended city schools in the 2016-17 year, up from 105,445 in the 2015-16 school year, according to data posted online Tuesday by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students. The center is a project of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York. “The city has taken some considerable steps to assist students living in shelters, but these numbers show that further action is needed,” said Randi Levine, policy coordinator for Advocates for Children. Read article

10.10.2017 | New York Times |  The number of homeless students in the New York City public school system rose again last year, according to state data expected to be released on Tuesday. The increase pushed the city over a sober milestone: One in every 10 public school students was homeless at some point during the 2016-17 school year...“It’s important to acknowledge what the city has done,” said Randi Levine, policy director of Advocates for Children of New York, which will release the data. “But these numbers show the city should redouble its efforts.” For example, Ms. Levine said the city has hired 43 social workers to work in schools with high concentrations of students in temporary housing. While that is a good step, she said, there are about 150 schools where at least 10 percent of the students live in shelters. Read article

10.06.2017 | Village Voice |  Though the city reports bullying in schools is on the decline, the AFC hotline, which helps families and students who are experiencing bullying, has received an increasing number of calls over the past few years. One of the primary complaints received: schools not taking action after a student reports being bullied to a teacher. “What we find is that families often are making reports and telling school staff, but there are problems with addressing what’s happening by the school,” says Yuster. “There aren’t enough guidance counselors or school psychologists or mental health professionals to deal with these issues. Schools are overwhelmed.” ... Dawn Yuster says when she advocates for a child who has been bullied or experienced harassment at school, she often ends up telling teachers and guidance counselors about existing support systems in place to help them with bullying. “Students, families, and even school staff are typically not even aware of who the person is in their school who is supposed to be the expert on addressing bullying... We appreciate good policy,” she says, “but it needs to translate on the ground. Schools need to have the resources and the training to utilize it.” Read article

09.29.2017 | Chalkbeat New York |  Schools sometimes fail to input bullying reports in an education department database that triggers a process for responding to the allegations, according to Dawn Yuster, the School Justice Project director at Advocates for Children of New York, a group that supports students who have been bullied. She said some of her clients’ families had repeatedly gone to school personnel with bullying allegations — to no effect. “There was no documentation until we got involved,” she said. Yuster attributed some schools’ failure to document or respond forcefully to bullying partly to staffers’ uncertainty about what counts as bullying and how best to respond to it. In other cases, teachers and administrators may simply be overwhelmed. “I don’t think it’s an unwillingness,” she said. “I think it’s more about resources, knowledge, experience, and training.” Read article

09.28.2017 | NY1 | Mayor Bill de Blasio and his schools chancellor have vowed to stamp out bullying in schools, spending $47 million a year on mental health and other programs to make schools kinder, gentler and more supportive places. However, revelations that bullying may have triggered Wednesday's deadly stabbing in a Bronx school are raising new questions about how effective those programs are, and whether they are reaching every school. View segment