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03.25.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying before the City Council Education Committee about the education proposals in the Fiscal Year 2016 Preliminary Budget. We are heartened that the Preliminary Budget includes increased funding for a literacy initiative to support students with disabilities, interpretation services for immigrant families, behavioral supports, and Pre-K. However, more funding is needed to have a significant impact. View AFC's testimony 

The ARISE Coalition, which is coordinated by AFC, is also testifying at today's hearing, urging the Council to fund the proposed literacy initiative as a down payment on what we hope will be a longer-term commitment to ensuring that every student in NYC learns to read proficiently. View the ARISE Coalition's testimony 

03.09.2015 | On March 24, AFC's Junior Board and NYU Law School's Education Law and Policy Society will hold a panel discussing the experiences of undocumented young people, particularly those who arrived recently, as they enter the City and try to access their right to a public education. RSVP by March 17

invitation 

03.05.2015 | Families wanting to apply to charter schools for the 2015-16 school year must submit their applications by April 1st. Here are 7 things you should know about the charter school admissions process.

  1. Families have to apply to any charter school that they want their children to attend. Schools must provide applications to parents upon request. Some schools post applications online. The New York City Charter School Center has a common application on its website that many schools use. You can find the application here.
     
  2. Charter schools must make the application available in languages predominately spoken in the community in which the charter school is located.
     
  3. After the deadline, charter schools must conduct a lottery to randomly select students for admission. Schools must publicize the date, time and location of the lottery, but parents are NOT required to be present at the lottery to win admission to the charter school. Families are not required to indicate that their child has an IEP or is an English Language Learner (ELL) on the application but may want to do so if the school gives an enrollment preference to students with disabilities and/or ELLs in the lottery. Schools must give an enrollment preference to students living in the community school district where the school is located and to siblings of current students at the school. However, these students are NOT guaranteed a seat at the charter school.

  4. If a student is selected in the lottery, the charter school will have a deadline by which the parent(s) must accept the seat. Therefore, families are encouraged to visit and research schools before April 1st, if possible.

  5. Families can research schools by reviewing school quality reports, visiting Insideschools.org, and visiting the NYC Charter School Center’s data webpage. In addition, parents are encouraged to attend open houses, speak with school staff, and request a copy of the charter school’s family handbook.

  6. Charter schools cannot discriminate against students on the basis of intellectual ability, standardized test scores or grades, disability, race, gender (same-sex schools are allowed), national origin, or religion, among other things. Charter schools must accept students with disabilities and ELLs. Parents are encouraged to ask schools about services and programs for these students.

  7. More information about the charter school admissions process, including sample questions to ask charter school staff, is available on the charter schools page of our website.

03.03.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying before the City Council Education Committee about the problem of overcrowding in schools and about the charter school cap. We believe it is premature to raise the cap on the number of charter schools before putting laws and practices in place that protect students’ civil rights in the context of school discipline and ensure that charter schools serve high-needs populations. View testimony

03.02.2015 | Today AFC will be testifying at the DOE Office of Safety and Youth Development hearing on the draft school discipline code for 2014-2015. AFC is a member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign New York (DSC-NY) and supports DSC’s goals of mandating guidance interventions prior to resorting to suspensions, expanding staff trainings that promote positive school environments, and eliminating suspensions for B21—“Defying or Disobeying Authority.” Our testimony focuses on the DOE’s revision to Infraction Code B21 and the importance of addressing the behavioral needs of Pre-K students. View testimony

02.27.2015 | Today, AFC is testifying at the New York City Council Committee on General Welfare hearing on interagency collaboration between the Administration for Children's Services (ACS) and the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) to protect children in temporary housing. We urge ACS and DHS to create a long-term plan to enroll all eligible children living in the City’s shelters in early childhood education programs. View testimony

city council hearing

02.25.2015 | Today AFC Project Director Abja Midha (second from left) testified at the New York City Council Committee on Education hearing on English Language Learners (ELLs). In our testimony, we raised concerns about the shortage of bilingual program options for ELLs, particularly in languages other than Spanish. View testimony





02.13.2015 | In response to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a package of school discipline reform proposals, Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York, issued the following statement: “We thank Mayor de Blasio for taking this important step forward on school discipline. He has assembled a leadership team with the potential to develop policies that will benefit thousands of students a year. Advocates for Children is pleased to be part of this effort to reduce suspensions and keep students in school.” View statement as pdf

02.12.2015 |  Today, Advocates for Children of New York releases a report, Civil Rights Suspended: An Analysis of New York City Charter School Discipline Policies, with key findings that we have made after reviewing 164 New York City charter school discipline policies obtained through Freedom of Information Law requests. A significant number of City charter schools have discipline policies that fail to meet the legal requirements, leading to violations of students’ and parents’ civil rights. The report includes recommendations for state legislators to consider as they discuss raising the cap on charter schools and ensuring that charter schools serve high-needs students.

“We hear from parents who celebrated winning the charter school lottery only to have their students face repeated suspension or expulsion from school with no opportunity to challenge it,” said Paulina Davis, AFC Staff Attorney. “Students do not give up their civil rights when they enter charter schools. We urge the State to ensure that all charter schools have discipline policies that meet legal requirements.”

For families of students attending charter schools, AFC’s Guide to Charter School Discipline explains what to do if your child has been suspended from a charter school, how to appeal a charter school's suspension decision, and your rights throughout the process.

View the press release
Read the report

Read AFC’s Guide to Charter School Discipline

02.11.2015 | In response to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s State of the City Address, Advocates for Children of New York issued the following statement:  

We are pleased that New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito highlighted school discipline reform as a priority in today’s State of the City Address. Her proposals to amend the Student Safety Act to provide more complete suspension data and to increase funding for positive approaches to discipline are important steps to help students avoid unnecessary suspension and stay in class.  

“It’s great to see the Speaker come out strong on this issue,” said Bernard Dufresne, Staff Attorney at Advocates for Children of New York. “We stand ready to work with her and the City Council to improve school climate, increase learning, and keep kids in school.”

View statement as pdf