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Christiana has a learning disability and recently graduated from high school thanks to AFC's assistance securing the support she needed to learn.

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AFC in the News

11.11.2016 | Equality Indicators | Deep in the trenches of this issue is NYC-based, Advocates for Children of New York. Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) works closely with students, teachers, parents, school administrators, city agencies, and other advocates on finding solutions to student misbehavior beyond punitive and exclusionary measures. The School Justice Project of AFC works to reduce the number of suspensions, summonses, and arrests in New York City schools, while increasing the use of positive alternatives that promote social-emotional development and provide behavioral interventions and support.  The Equality Indicators got a chance to speak with Dawn Yuster, School Justice Project Director, on what AFC is doing to improve outcomes for NYC public school students’ faced with suspension and law enforcement interventions in school. Read article

11.01.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Just 59 percent of students received the full range of services required on their individualized education programs, or IEPs, compared with 60 percent the previous school year. And 33 percent, or roughly 58,000 students, received only partial services — down from 35 percent. The number of students who received no services, despite being recommended for them, rose from 5 to 8 percent, or almost 14,000 students. “That’s really disheartening,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children. “But I think it’s also a big wake-up call. The fact that they’re doing the reporting and that it’s public and people are looking at it is a good thing.” Read article

11.01.2016 | Public News Service | According to Dawn Yuster, school justice project director at Advocates for Children of New York, black students still are being suspended at a rate more than three-and-a-half-times greater than white students...Just as striking is the disproportionate number of students with disabilities being suspended. Yuster pointed out that students with disabilities are less than 20 percent of the student body, but were more than 38 percent of the total number of suspensions. "What we're seeing is that students who need the most help: behavioral supports, mental health supports, are not getting the kind of help that they need," she added.

Disparities in suspensions are a nationwide problem. Yuster noted that the federal Department of Education has released guidelines for devising alternatives to suspension. And Advocates for Children of New York is calling on the city and other advocates to strategically invest in finding ways to keep students in the classroom and learning. "We strongly believe implementing restorative practices on a large-scale basis, collaborative problem-solving, will promote positive school climates and also reduce the racial disparities," she said. Read article

10.31.2016 | NY1 | New numbers from the Department of Education show that suspensions dropped 15 percent in the 2015-2016 school year and are down 46 percent in the past five years. According to the department's report, crime in schools is down 5 percent and school-related arrests are down 37 percent. The group Advocates for Children of New York says black students and students with disabilities are suspended from school more often than other students. Read article

10.31.2016 | WNYC SchoolBook | Watchdog groups said students with disabilities made up 38.6 percent of total suspensions. Dawn Yuster, School Justice Project Director at Advocates for Children of New York, pointed out it was slightly higher than the previous year, when kids with disabilities made up 38.2 percent of all suspended students. Yuster's group and the New York Civil Liberties Union were also concerned that black students were 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than whites, a very small decrease since last year when they were 3.9 times more likely to be suspended. Read article

10.28.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Some advocates said that even if the city can’t prove that the policy is serving more low-income families, those it is serving are often having an easier time. Rebecca Shore, who represents low-income families as litigation director at Advocates for Children, said the administration’s shift has given parents of children with disabilities a more straightforward path to private school by reducing the amount of time and money they have to commit to legal battles. “The reality is the policy is helping those low-income parents,” she said. “Does that mean it’s equally dispersed? No.” Read article

10.28.2016 | NY1 | Most the students who take yellow buses have special needs, endure long commutes or live in homeless shelters. Advocates are worried a strike would hit the most vulnerable students. "There are countless numbers of students, kids with disabilities and kids in temporary housing, who will have trouble getting to school, some of whom won't get to school at all," said Maggie Moroff of Advocates of Children of NY. The Department of Education says it plans to distribute MetroCards and reimburse families for driving, taking a taxi or using a car service. But those options won't work for every student. "If you have a kid who uses a wheelchair, for example, it may be really, really hard to find a car service that is going to carry them," Moroff said. Read article

10.18.2016 | The 74 Million | One in 10: That’s how many New York City students experienced homelessness in the past school year, according to statistics released Monday on a burgeoning student population that often experiences devastating academic performance. The total for the 2015–16 school year, 105,445, is a 22 percent jump from 2014–15, when 86,694 homeless students attended New York City schools, according to state data released Monday by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS)...

Jennifer Pringle, program director at NYS-TEACHS, called the spike “disturbing” and said the increase likely can be attributed both to better identification of homeless students and to an actual uptick in displacement...“Sustained efforts are needed to support kids experiencing homelessness,” Pringle said. “This is not a problem that’s going away anytime soon.” Read article

10.18.2016 | New York Daily News | A staggering 105,445 homeless students attended city schools in the 2015-16 year, up from 86,694 in the 2014-15 school year, according to data posted online Monday by the New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless Students (NYS-TEACHS), a project of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York...NYS-TEACHS analyst Emily Kramer said the explosion in the number of homeless city students reported to the state could be due to better accounting as well as economic reality. “There has been a steady increase over the past number of years and a sharp increase in the most recent data,” Kramer said. “Despite the recovery from the Great Recession, low-income families continue to struggle to find permanent housing.” Read article

10.12.2016 | Village Voice | As the rate of homelessness in New York City has reached a record high, with around 60,000 people living in shelters, the effects on the 30,000 children in the system are devastating. Students often move multiple times on short notice, and because the system is so stretched, they’re housed farther from their “school of origin,” which increases commute time and makes them late to class. They also face emotional trauma: Some 60 percent of the homeless students were either “chronically absent” or “severely chronically absent,” according to a report released Tuesday by the city’s Independent Budget Office...“This isn’t a surprise,” says Randi Levine, an early-childhood expert at Advocates for Children of New York City. “The report confirms the data that we’ve seen over recent years that students who are homeless have poor rates of attendance at schools and poor school outcomes.” Read article