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Micaela’s Story

Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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AFC in the News

11.02.2021 | amNY | “The Department of Education needs to make it clear what the DESSA screening tool is and what the purpose of it is to make it clear to families, school staff and students and what it can do and what it’s not meant to do,” said Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children. 

DOE officials claim screens will only take instructors a few minutes to complete, but some teachers are skeptical that they will be able to fill out an online form they are unfamiliar with so quickly especially with questions that some have called “ridiculously subjective.” Read article

11.01.2021 | NY Daily News | The lack of access to the internet in shelters created further barriers when I was living in family shelters with my son. Like so many homeless students in New York City who could not properly access virtual schooling throughout the pandemic, my son spent years unable to research and complete homework assignments due to his lack of internet access. A report by Advocates for Children of New York found that attendance rates for students living in shelters ranged between 75%-80% from January to June of 2020 — much lower than rates for students in permanent housing. Read article

10.31.2021 | NY Post | “The biggest challenge is that the DOE doesn’t have enough local schools which are supportive for these students,” said Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project for Advocates for Children of New York. “There are not enough school placement options, both for older and younger (students).” 

Rodriguez-Engberg, whose group helps enroll the newcomers in city schools, said gang concerns are overblown. “All the students we serve are very eager to be in school and waiting for the enrollment to happen so they can get their lives together,” she said. The city opens its arms to all students, despite any outside concerns. Read article

10.27.2021 | amNY | “There is no question the DOE has the data and is looking at the number of students who are and are not attending school right now,” said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children of New York. “It’s important for the public to know how many students are enrolled in school in order to put the attendance rate into context and then advocate for targeted resources and support.” Read article

10.22.2021 | The 74 | Levine, of Advocates for Children, feels similarly to Treyger, that quality data are necessary to help diagnose the most pressing problems facing students in the nation’s largest school system. 

“If the bus isn’t coming, there’s a very different solution than if a parent is concerned about safety during COVID-19,” she said. “Public data helps to shine a light on disparities within the education system and allow stakeholders to help identify and push for solutions.” Read article

10.21.2021 | CNN | Although children have not had the highest rates of infection, they have faced many of the pandemic's impacts. And for children without homes, there have been even more barriers. Attendance rates of homeless students in NYC public schools have dropped significantly amid the pandemic, according to a study released this week by the Advocates for Children of New York. 

"If we want to break the cycle of family homelessness, the city must address barriers to attendance for students in shelter," Jennifer Pringle, Director of Advocates for Children's Learners in Temporary Housing project said. "Fortunately, the DOE is in a position to tackle barriers to attendance for students in shelters with the tens of millions of dollars in federal American Rescue Plan Act — Homeless funds it is poised to receive." Read article

10.20.2021 | SI Live | A new report on homeless students in New York City has found that these youth have significantly lower attendance rates than their permanently housed peers — partially due to the challenges created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, The New York Times reported. 

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) released the new study, analyzing attendance data from the city Department of Education (DOE) -- finding that homeless students had attendance rates fall to 73% in the first few weeks of the 2021-2022 school year, the media outlet reported. The attendance rate for all city public school students is around 90% this school year so far, according to The Times. Read article

10.19.2021 | amNY | According to a new report released by Advocates for Children of New York, the average attendance rate for a public school student living in a homeless shelter was 73%, a 10 percentage point drop from the pre-pandemic rate. 

The report, released Monday, found attendance rate among homeless high school students have suffered the most. Homeless public school students in the 10th grade missed on average more than one out of every three school days during the winter and spring of this year while 9th, 11th, and 12th-grade students living in shelters missed about one every four days of classes. Overall, high school students living in shelters have attendance rates far below their housed counterparts with the largest difference being among homeless and housed 10th-grade students and the smallest between housed and homeless 11th graders. Read article

10.19.2021 | The New York Times | “These are days of instruction that they can’t get back,” Jennifer Pringle, director of Advocates for Children’s Learners in Temporary Housing project, said. “Homelessness and education are inextricably linked. So if we really want to break the cycle of homelessness we need to focus on education and make sure that families and students have the supports that they need to overcome these barriers to attendance.” Read article

10.18.2021 | NY Daily News | New York City students living in homeless shelters missed nearly one in every four days of school on average last winter and spring as technology, transportation and logistical challenges piled up during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report found. 

“These alarmingly low attendance rates make clear that the Department of Education’s current shelter-based support system is not sufficient,” said Jennifer Pringle, the director of Advocates for Children’s Learners in Temporary Housing project.

Attendance rates for the tens of thousands of kids living in shelters hovered between 75% and 80% from January to June of last year — staying at least 10 percentage points lower than the attendance rates for students living in permanent housing every month, according to an analysis of city Department of Education data by the nonprofit Advocates for Children. 

During the first couple weeks of this school year with full-time, in-person classes, students in shelters reported 73% attendance, compared to a citywide average in the mid-80% range, advocates said.  Read article