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Julian is a 3-year-old preschooler with delays in his language skills, but the DOE failed to provide recommended services. 

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Policy & Initiatives

Public Comments & Testimony

Public Comments & Testimony

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) has our finger on the pulse of important education issues and education policy trends that affect children in New York City and New York State. We are on the forefront of pushing to improve education policy, so that all children have access to a quality education.

Below are AFC’s most recent public comments and testimonies. Please see our archive for comments and testimonies from 20132012, and 2011.

2014

AFC Testifies on Early Intervention, December 15, 2014
AFC testified before the City Council Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Disability Services on the importance of the Early Intervention program...View testimony

AFC Testifies Regarding Diversity in New York City Schools, December 11, 2014
Today Advocates for Children is testifying before the City Council’s Education Committee about diversity in NYC schools. Ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds have access to high-achieving schools and programs is critical, but is only one step. As the City Council strives to ensure that every school and program in NYC serves a diverse group of students, the City and DOE need to prepare schools to provide an excellent education to these students. Schools need resources, training, and the development of specialized programs to meet the needs of all students, including English Language Learners and students with disabilities....View testimony 

AFC Testifies on Special Education Instruction and Student Achievement, October 28, 2014
Today AFC is testifying at the New York City Council Committee on Education's oversight hearing on special education instruction and student achievement. At Advocates for Children, we see again and again that when students of all ages have been failed by the system and still can’t read, they start making significant progress once they receive specialized tutoring, using evidence-based methods, in after-school settings or over the summer, or are placed in non-public school settings with expertise in teaching students with disabilities to read and write. The problem is not the children; it’s a school system that is not prepared to teach them effectively. The ARISE Coalition, which we coordinate out of AFC, has several concrete recommendations for the City to improve literacy rates for students with disabilities. We’re looking for the DOE to come up with a long-term plan for teaching all students, including students with disabilities, to read at or above grade level by the end of second grade...View testimony

AFC Testifies Regarding Guidance Services for Students, September 29, 2014
Today AFC is testifying before the New York City Council Committee on Education regarding guidance counselors in schools. We strongly support the City Council in publicly monitoring the number and distribution of guidance counselors, social workers, and school psychologists in New York City schools and would like to see the data that is eventually collected be used to expand access to academic and behavioral student support services. We also support the City Council’s call on the DOE to establish a comprehensive college preparation program to improve and expand college access for all students, particularly low-income students and students of color, and we want to be sure that students with disabilities and English Language Learners also are able to benefit from what the program has to offer...View testimony

AFC Testifies at a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Behavioral Health System Planning Forum, September 15, 2014
This afternoon, AFC will be testifying at a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Behavioral Health System Planning Forum on the need for DOHMH to work with the DOE to improve the mental health system for New York City’s students so they can stay and succeed in school. In our testimony, we request that DOHMH partner with the DOE to expand school-based mental health clinics and the number of mobile crisis response teams available for public school students. We also recommend that DOHMH provide training from experienced mental health professionals to school staff around trauma-informed care, positive behavior supports, and de-escalation techniques that will enable school staff to respond appropriately to students in crisis...View testimony  

AFC Submits Comments on Disproportionality under IDEA, July 28, 2014
AFC submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education regarding disproportionality under Section 618(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Our comments focus on racial disproportionality in the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities in New York City. Both citywide data and AFC’s on-the-ground experiences indicate that New York City disproportionately identifies Black students with an Emotional Disturbance (ED) classification and students classified as ED are much more likely to be removed from mainstream environments and placed in highly segregated settings. Students of color, students with disabilities, and students of color with disabilities are also disproportionately suspended from school, and New York City has not consistently provided IDEA protections to the students with disabilities it suspends...View comments

AFC Testifies on Graduation Pathways and Career and Technical Education, July 16, 2014
Today AFC is testifying before the New York State Assembly Committee on Education regarding Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New York State (NYS). To respond to the graduation crisis in NYS, we must create both instructional and assessment pathways that take into account the postsecondary aspirations and learning styles of all students. We believe CTE can play a major role in this endeavor, especially as part of a broader system of multiple pathways to graduation. Unfortunately, many students have been limited in gaining access to CTE programs, particularly students with disabilities and English Language Learners. It is our hope that A.8189A/S.5966A begins to open doors to quality CTE programs for all students. Our testimony discusses considerations this legislation must address... View testimony

AFC Submits Testimony on Protecting Students from Elopement, June 12, 2014
AFC submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Education regarding the proposed bill to equip all exit doors in elementary school buildings and buildings accommodating District 75 programs with an alarm system...View testimony 

AFC Testifies at City Council Hearing on Charter School Management and Accountability, May 6, 2014
AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education on the need to improve charter school accountability and oversight, particularly with regard to discipline policies and the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of students with disabilities and English Language Learners. AFC supports the Council’s bill calling for reports to the DOE on student demographic data for all co-located schools...View testimony 

AFC Testifies on the Impact of the 2015 Preliminary Budget on Early Learning Programs, March 24, 2014 
AFC testified before the City Council General Welfare Committee about the importance of providing adequate funding for high-quality early childhood education programs for young children from low-income backgrounds.... View testimony

AFC Testifies on New York City's Plan for Universal Pre-K, February 11, 2014
AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education and Committee on Women’s Issues in support of New York City’s plan to create a new funding stream to pay for a rapid expansion of Universal Pre-K....View testimony

AFC Submits Testimony on the 2014-15 Executive Budget Proposal, January 28, 2014
Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York, submitted testimony for the New York State Education Budget Hearing. In her testimony, Kim Sweet applauds the Governor’s call to make pre-kindergarten truly universal, but points out that the funding in the budget proposal is insufficient to reach this goal. As a result, she calls on the Legislature to support Mayor de Blasio’s plan to expand pre-kindergarten rapidly in New York City. She also makes recommendations regarding the Governor’s preschool special education reform, special education waiver, after-school, and anti-discrimination proposals....View testimony

AFC Submits Comments on New York State's ESEA Flexibility Waiver for 2014-15, January 27, 2014
AFC submitted comments to the New York State Education Department regarding proposed amendments to the State's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver. AFC commented on amendments addressing testing for students with disabilities and English Language Learners....View comments (part 1) (part 2)