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Michelle, a 20-year-old from Haiti, spoke very little English but had dreams of earning a high school diploma and attending college.

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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 2012 and 2011.

2014

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)

2013

AFC Testifies on the Impact of Standardized Testing on Graduation, November 25, 2013
AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education, arguing that high-stakes standardized exit exams create unnecessary barriers to graduation....View testimony

The Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma Submits Public Comment on the Regents Research Paper Proposal, October 31, 2013
The Coalition submitted comments to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in response to a proposal to require high school students to complete a Regents Research Paper in order to graduate with a Regents or local diploma....View comments

AFC Testifies on Early Childhood Education, October 28, 2013
AFC testified before the General Welfare and Women’s Issues Committees of the New York City Council regarding the implementation of EarlyLearn NYC. We are discussing the importance of increased funding to ensure that every child can participate in a high-quality early childhood education program....View testimony

AFC Testifies on Special Education Reform, October 25, 2013
AFC testified before the Education Committee of the New York City Council regarding the Department of Education's special education reform. Our school system needs to change how it educates students with disabilities; however, change will not yield positive results unless it is well executed and adequately financed....View testimony

AFC's School Justice Project Testifies on the Implementation of Close to Home, October 23, 2013
AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Juvenile Justice regarding the educational needs of students in the custody of the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) in non-secure placement through Close to Home. Our testimony expresses concerns about the quality and consistency of education across all of the non-secure placement facilities, and encourages ACS to continue to improve the initial placement process by ensuring that the educational needs of youth and a student’s grade and age are given due consideration during the placement process...View testimony

AFC Submits Testimony on Significant School Changes (Closures, Reconfigurations, and Community Notification), October 2, 2013
AFC submitted testimony to the Education Committee of the New York City Council supporting a one-year moratorium on school closings and additional community notification, but opposing a resolution giving Community Education Councils veto power over proposed co-locations...View testimony

AFC Comments on Proposed Revisions to the Federal Child Care Development Fund Regulations, August 2, 2013
AFC's Early Childhood Education Project submitted comments on proposed revisions to the federal Child Care Development Fund regulations. Our suggestions are largely focused on two overarching goals that are of vital importance to the clients we serve: making it easier for low-income families to access subsidized child care so that their children can receive a high-quality early childhood education, and improving the ability of child care programs to serve children with special needs.... View comments

AFC Testifies on Re-entry Planning for Youth in Detention and Placement, June 18, 2013
AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Juvenile Justice on the educational needs of students transitioning back into the community from detention and placement....View testimony

AFC Testifies on the Draft Citywide Discipline Code for 2013-2014, June 6, 2013
AFC testified before the DOE's Office of Safety and Youth Development on the draft discipline code for the 2013-2014 school year. AFC called for the discipline code to include meaningful information regarding behavioral supports for students with disabilities....View testimony

AFC Testifies Regarding Early Childhood and After-School Cuts in the FY14 Executive Budget, June 5, 2013
AFC testified before the City Council Committee on Finance, urging city leaders to reject shortsighted proposed cuts to early childhood education and after-school programs....View testimony

AFC Testifies before OCFS on the Child Care Plan for 2014-15, April 26, 2013
AFC testified before the state Office of Children and Family Services hearing on the child care plan for 2014-15, arguing that our leaders must provide more funding to increase access to quality early childhood education programs and ensure that children with disabilities have access to those programs....View testimony

AFC Comments on Education Components of Close to Home Draft Plan, April 23, 2013
AFC submitted comments on the New York City Administration for Children’s Services’ proposed plan for limited secure placement of youth as part of phase two of the Close to Home juvenile justice reform initiative.....View comments

AFC Testifies on the Importance of Improving School Climate and Safety, April 15, 2013
AFC provided testimony at the City Council Oversight Hearing examining School Climate and Safety. AFC's testimony highlighted the NYC Department of Education's failure to provide mandated behavioral supports for students with disabilities as well as its failure to implement positive behavior modification programs for all students for decreasing students suspensions and improving school climate and culture in schools.....View testimony

AFC Testifies about the Fiscal Year 2014 Preliminary Budget, March 18, 2013
AFC testified before the City Council General Welfare Committee to urge city leaders to reject proposed cuts to early learning programs in New York City.... View testimony

AFC Testifies about the Bus Strike, February 8, 2013
AFC testified before the Education Committee of the New York City Council about the cost of pupil transportation in NYC and the impact of the bus strike on the families we serve. AFC has heard from countless families struggling to get their children to and from school during the strike – a strike which for three weeks now has left great numbers of students with special education needs without the free, appropriate, public education they are entitled to under law....View testimony

AFC Submits Testimony for the Joint Legislative Public Hearing on 2013-2014 Executive Budget Proposal: Health, January 30, 2013
AFC submitted testimony urging the New York State Legislature to ensure that the state budget protects access to high-quality Early Intervention services that are driven by children’s needs, not by their health insurance coverage....View testimony