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AFC in the News

03.04.2021 | Bronx News 12 | "The DOE needs to plan now for a summer program that begins to help students catch up, given all the learning loss and trauma they've experienced over the past year," said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children of New York. "We want to make sure that summer programming this year has opportunities for one-on-one and small group instruction, especially for students who are struggling with reading, which is such a fundamental skill. We want to ensure that the summer program can serve all students of all ages and grade levels, starting in kindergarten — let's not wait until 3rd grade like we've done in past years, given that our young learners also missed out and need help right now. And let's make sure that this summer, our programs have specialized supports for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, so that they can take advantage of these programs, given how much difficulty they've had with remote learning over the past year." Watch video

03.03.2021 | Uptown Radio | One of the bills introduced last month in the City Council seeks to shift safety agents from the NYPD to the Department of Education. Another establishes new procedures for police responding to students in crisis. It would also require more training in de-escalation and restorative justice techniques. And limit the use of handcuffs. Rohini Singh is a staff attorney with Advocates for Children’s School Justice, and helped the council members draft the bills. She says ultimately, police shouldn’t be in schools at all. But for now, "while police are still in schools and around schools they should know what they can and can't do when it comes to a student that's experienced an emotional crisis." Listen to story

02.26.2021 | The 74 | Advocates for Children Executive Director Kim Sweet also thanked Carranza for his service “especially in the face of unprecedented challenges this past year” and congratulated Porter “on her historic appointment.” 

“She definitely has her work cut out for her,” Sweet said. “At this critical moment, NYC needs an ambitious education recovery plan to restore hope and opportunity to a generation of students that has experienced significant learning loss and trauma.” 

AFC’s policy director Randi Levine noted all the discussion around reimagining schools as a result of the pandemic, and called on Porter and de Blasio to go beyond the rhetoric and make real changes to strengthen academic and student mental health supports as they reopens schools. Read article

02.25.2021 | Those changes are a “very big deal,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, which has handled at least a dozen cases of students being denied access to the program. “It was very unclear what the process was in the beginning.” 

Crucially, the new guidance says the city will provide paraprofessionals who often work individually with students with behavior or health problems. Not having such paraprofessionals proved a significant barrier to access Learning Bridges for many students. Read article

02.23.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | Ashley Grant, director of the Postsecondary Readiness Project at the nonprofit Advocates for Children, supported the decision to remove the Regents from graduation requirements. 

“This is great news and will allow teachers and students to focus on the work of teaching and learning, confident that students who meet all other graduation requirements will not lose their chance to earn a diploma because of COVID-19,” she wrote in an email. Read article

02.23.2021 | NY Daily News | The city Education Department illegally held up court-ordered tuition reimbursement payments for families of private school students with disabilities during the pandemic, a Manhattan federal judge ruled. 

One high school student with multiple disabilities was forced to temporarily drop out of her court-approved Manhattan private school for a month last summer because the city failed to deliver its reimbursement payments and the student’s single mother couldn’t front the cost, according to Rebecca Shore, the family’s lawyer. 

“This loss was demoralizing for our client, and put at risk her ability to graduate,” said Shore, an attorney with Advocates for Children. Read article

02.22.2021 | Univision Nueva York | Mariela Salgado habla con Betty Baez Melo y Maggie Moroff de Advocates for Children of New York sobre estudiantes con discapacidades. "Muchas familias han pasado meses desconectadas, sin saber qué servicios de instrucción recibirán." 

Rossana Díaz, una madre de familia en Nueva York, relata cómo ha sobrellevado la condición de su hijo en estos tiempos de aprendizaje remoto, en los que además ha tenido que lidiar con el trabajo y varias responsabilidades del hogar al mismo tiempo. Watch video

02.18.2021 | “We want a mental health approach taken,” said Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children, especially given the trauma students will likely bring to school in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “If there is a student in emotional crisis, there’s no reason to restrain them." 

In 2019, the police transported about 3,400 students to hospitals because they were experiencing an emotional crisis, or roughly 30% of all police interventions in schools that year, according to an analysis of city data by the New York Civil Liberties Union. About 87% of those students were Black or Latino, despite being 67% of the student population, and about 9% of those incidents involved the use of handcuffs. A 2017 report found students as young as five years old in emotional distress have been handcuffed. Read article

02.10.2021 | Chalkbeat NY | “It’s probably fair to say some of that was data entry, but not all of it,” said Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children. “It’s also probable that not all the kids were getting what they needed.” 

Moroff said she is hopeful some of the more granular data will help parents and advocates push the education department to boost services in places that need it most. “One of the reasons we pushed for data like this is because it then drives accountability,” she said. Read article

02.10.2021.| PIX11 | Caleb Bell was one of the eight students named in a class action lawsuit filed by Advocates for Children, hoping to get compensatory services for tens of thousands of special needs students in New York City public schools. About 200,000 students have individualized educational plans. 

 "These students will not receive the services that they need for years. These students need those services now — they have lost a year of education," said Rebecca Shore, Advocates for Children of New York's Director of Litigation. Watch video