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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

04.25.2020 | NY Post | All high school seniors should graduate, all middle school students should receive full credit, elementary schoolers should get no grades and everyone should be promoted, demand 37 education advocates led by City Councilman Mark Treyger.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the ugliest inequities in our society into the glaring light for all to see. We must not continue the same system that resulted in these inequities, but must instead fundamentally change the way we think about our education, our society, and the world,” reads a letter sent Friday to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. Read article

04.24.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | But parent leaders and other advocates are already pushing back, saying the policy under consideration, which continues with letter grades in high school, does not go far enough to address the challenges posed by an unprecedented public health crisis.

“To adhere to traditional grading at this moment would only serve to perpetuate the real impacts of pandemic-related stress, racial and economic disparities, and the fact that most teachers were not and still are not adequately prepared to provide high-quality instruction remotely,” states one letter, signed by three dozen parent leaders and scores of other advocacy groups. Read article

04.20.2020 | NY Daily News | “We have to do things differently," said Dawn Yuster, the director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children, one of dozens of organizations that sent a letter Friday to the city Education Department sounding the alarm on mental health services.

“The public health crisis is hopefully going to shine a light on the fact that we cannot continue to treat students the way we have in our schools.”

Yuster and her colleagues are proposing a $15 million investment to launch school partnerships with local hospitals. The initiative would give schools a hotline to call to help de-escalate crises, and would send mental health clinicians to schools and students’ homes for counseling. Read article

04.16.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, said the proposed budget cuts would likely worsen existing inequities and exacerbate the challenges schools and students are now facing.

“New York City students will need additional academic and social-emotional support to make up for the months of instructional time that have been lost to the pandemic and address the impact of isolation, fear, and loss,” she said in a statement.

“We need our federal, state, and city elected officials to work together to ensure our schools have the resources they need so that the current crisis does not have lifelong consequences for a generation of children.” Read article

04.16.2020 | Gothamist | “Even in our darkest days, we have to continue to invest in the future, and our schools are our best hope,” Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, said in a statement on the executive budget. “That is absolutely key to full recovery.”

Sweet added that services should not be cut just because students are learning remotely. “In the year ahead, New York City students will need additional academic and social-emotional support to make up for the months of instructional time that have been lost to the pandemic and address the impact of isolation, fear, and loss,” Sweet said. “The budget cuts announced today would only worsen existing inequities and compound the immense challenges our schools and students are currently facing.” Read article

04.15.2020 | El Diario | Entre tanto, la activista Rita Rodríguez-Engberg, directora del Proyecto de Derechos de los Estudiantes Inmigrantes, indicó que el DOE debe darle prioridad a esos estudiantes que ya estaban en desventaja, y que tienen problemas de aprendizaje, incluyendo a los que están aprendiendo inglés, y que son muchos de los que hasta estas alturas no han recibido ni siquiera los equipos, como laptops, para aprender a distancia.

“Muchos de estos niños no están recibiendo los servicios a los que tienen derecho, y por el solo hecho de tener un idioma diferente, como el español, no están siendo atendidos de la manera rápida como son atendidos los problemas de los otros, y lo peor, es que no están recibiendo la tecnología o asistencia o terapia como los demás niños”, denunció la activista que lucha por los derechos de los niños.

Rodríguez-Engberg resaltó que han recibió reportes de padres que siguen esperando por las computadoras para sus hijos. “Muchos niños de familias inmigrantes todavía no tienen una laptop para esta enseñanza a remoto. Y como muchos solo hablan español en estos hogares inmigrantes de bajos ingresos, ahora se están quedado retrasados por no contar con la tecnología, y muchos ni siquiera están recibiendo asistencia telefónica en su idioma”. Read article

04.13.2020 | The 74 | Students “[are] currently navigating unprecedented disruptions to their education,” Advocates for Children of New York wrote in an April 7 statement applauding New York’s decision to forgo the Regents exams. Students are still expected to complete required course credits. “It will be critical … that schools have the resources to provide young people with the additional academic and other support they will need to leave high school prepared for college and careers.” Read article

04.12.2020 | SI Live | “Schools are a crucial source of stability and social-emotional support for students who are homeless, and we fear that the COVID-19 outbreak will further exacerbate existing inequities, with long-lasting and potentially devastating consequences,” read a letter sent to Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza on March 20 from various advocacy groups -- including the Advocates for Children of New York, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York and the Coalition for the Homeless. Read article

04.10.2020 | The 74 | “Remote learning requires a lot of independence,” explains Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children of New York, a nonprofit working on behalf of marginalized students. “By definition, if you get special ed services, it means you need more support above and beyond your peers.” Read article

04.10.2020 | MarketWatch | “We have serious concerns about the students who cannot access remote learning and students who are not able to demonstrate what they know through remote-learning platforms,” said Ashley Grant, a supervising staff attorney at the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York. 

Another concern, she said, is that 21-year-old students who will age out of the K-12 school system in June may need more time to complete their coursework because of school closures and subsequent gaps in their learning. 

“It is critically important that schools have the resources to provide these young people with the academic and other support they need to finish high school and move on to college or career,” Grant said. Read article