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06.20.2017 | WNYC | Emma Albert, 14, has never entered her school through the front door. The eighth grader has a vascular malformation on her left leg, which means that since the first grade she used a wheelchair though she could switch to crutches for short distances. And it means that she could access only the areas of her school that were wheelchair accessible. So, each morning she entered The Manhattan School for Children through a side entrance. When it came time to apply to high school, she lamented that her search was driven more by accessibility than school offerings. "They don’t really care about, 'What are your interests outside of school?' It’s like, as long as it’s accessible, it’s a good school for you," she said. Emma and other students spoke at a recent panel on school accessibility, organized by the ARISE Coalition (coordinated by Advocates for Children) and Parents for Inclusive Education. Read article

06.14.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | For many students, navigating the middle and high school admissions process can be overwhelming because New York City’s choice system allows them to apply to dozens of schools. But for students with physical disabilities, it can be overwhelming for the opposite reason: Very few schools are completely accessible to them. A coalition of advocates hope to raise awareness about that gap by hosting a panel discussion and “speak-out” Thursday evening where middle and high school students with physical, vision, and hearing impairments will talk about their experiences making their way through the city’s admissions process. “A lot of these students end up with really, really limited school options,” said Maggie Moroff, a disability policy expert at Advocates for Children, and who is helping coordinate the event. Read article

05.09.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Maggie Moroff, a disability policy expert at Advocates for Children, said the report validates the idea that problems with SESIS have persisted for years without being adequately addressed. But the bigger issue, she emphasized, is that many students with disabilities are going without services they need. “We can’t wait,” Moroff said. “They have to be fixing [SESIS] and fix the service deficiencies in the system at the same time.” Read article

04.26.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2018 executive budget, unveiled Wednesday, was hailed as a win by advocates who successfully pushed for the restoration of $10.3 million in funding for homeless students omitted from his draft budget. “We are disappointed that we had to fight to get the $10.3 million restored,” said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children, “but are relieved that the mayor has restored the funding.”...The restored $10.3 million for homeless students will pay for dozens of social workers in schools with high populations of homeless students through an initiative called “Bridging the Gap,” an Afterschool Reading Club program for children living in shelters, and teachers based in shelters who are charged with boosting school attendance, among other initiatives. While advocates praised the mayor for including that funding, they said it’s still far less than is needed to truly address the crisis. Read article

04.19.2017 | New York Daily News | Advocates say the services are needed now more than ever because the city’s homeless crisis has reached historic proportions, with an all-time high of 105,000 kids in temporary housing now enrolled in public schools. “Students living in shelters need supports in order to succeed in school,” said Randi Levine, policy director for the non-profit group Advocates for Children of New York. “With a record number of students living in shelters, now is the time for the city to increase its support, not pull it away,” Levine added. Read article

04.13.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | Officials rejected 453 of the 2,008 requests to suspend students for insubordination, or 23 percent. And they rejected about 20 percent of the 1,039 attempts to suspend students in grades K-3, or 31 percent if you include the more serious suspensions that already required approval. “It is promising to see that there are rejections and that suspensions are not rubber-stamped by the Department of Education,” said Dawn Yuster, the school justice project director at Advocates for Children. “They’re using this as a way of showing schools they’re serious about the policy changes.” Read article

03.31.2017 | Chalkbeat New York | “Although the city has seen a positive drop in the numbers of suspensions, we still have far to go,” said Dawn Yuster, the school justice project director at Advocates for Children, who added that her organization receives hundreds of calls each year from students facing suspensions, and that most are black or have disabilities. Yuster criticized the city’s commitment to school discipline reform in the long term. “The city’s preliminary budget does not contain the funding that is needed to maintain the gains from earlier investments in school discipline reform and support schools that are looking to move away from exclusionary discipline practices.” Read article

03.28.2017 | Politico New York | Tami and thousands of other undocumented students in America’s largest public school system are testing the boundaries of how much a fiercely liberal, "sanctuary city" can do to protect some of its most vulnerable students as the Trump administration pursues more aggressive deportation policies. There are roughly 38,000 undocumented students in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, according to the Migration Policy Institute. “We are thinking about worst case scenarios that we never thought would ever happen that now can happen,” said Abja Midha, the immigrant students’ rights project director for Advocates for Children. “There is this feeling that anything is possible.” Read article

03.21.2017 | WNYC | The group Advocates for Children of New York said the city is taking the right steps, but urged it to go even farther by barring federal immigration officials from school property entirely, if they don't have a warrant. The group also said decisions about whether agents can enter schools should be made by superintendents, not principals. Read article

03.13.2017 | Politico New York | Now, as city officials start preparing for the executive budget, advocates are pushing the mayor to restore and increase funding for homeless students. “With record numbers of students living in shelter, now is the time for the city to increase its investment in support for students living in shelter, and certainly not the time to cut funding,” the leaders of Advocates for Children, an advocacy group often allied with de Blasio, wrote in a letter to the mayor last week, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO New York. Kim Sweet and Randi Levine, the group's executive director and policy director, respectively, called on de Blasio to baseline the $10.3 million for guidance counselors and add another $7.3 million to the executive budget to fund a total of 100 counselors for schools with high homeless populations. Read article