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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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09.02.2020 | CBS New York | “There are some shelters, for example, in New York City that don’t have sufficient cellular reception to get the iPads to work,” said Randi Levine of the group Advocates for Children. The nonprofit is helping to bridge the digital divide for city students. 

The DOE has distributed more than 300,000 tablets. But from not being able to log on because of shoddy cell service to not having a device at all, not every student is prepared.

“Inequities in education existed well before the pandemic. But remote learning is only magnifying those inequities,” Levine said. Watch video

09.02.2020 | The Imprint | “We’re very concerned about what this will mean for all students eager to return to school even part-time, especially for students in foster care,” said Erika Palmer, supervising attorney for Advocates For Children. “Arranging transportation for such a large number of those students is going to be a huge logistical challenge.” Read article

09.02.2020 | CBS New York | “There are some shelters, for example, in New York City that don’t have sufficient cellular reception to get the iPads to work,” said Randi Levine of the group Advocates for Children.

The nonprofit is helping to bridge the digital divide for city students.

The DOE has distributed more than 300,000 tablets. But from not being able to log on because of shoddy cell service to not having a device at all, not every student is prepared.

“Inequities in education existed well before the pandemic. But remote learning is only magnifying those inequities,” Levine said. Watch video

09.02.2020 | The Imprint | “We’re very concerned about what this will mean for all students eager to return to school even part-time, especially for students in foster care,” said Erika Palmer, supervising attorney for Advocates For Children. “Arranging transportation for such a large number of those students is going to be a huge logistical challenge.” Read article

09.02.2020 | Bronx News 12 | "We have students in shelter and foster care that often live very far from their schools,” said attorney Chantal Hinds. 

Hinds said certain students that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and school closures like those with special needs or challenging living circumstances will be further affected if busing isn’t available. Watch video.

09.01.2020 | Queens Daily Eagle | "The city must resolve obstacles for children with disabilities, provide access to technology and WiFi for low-income students and better communicate with non-English speaking families,” said Advocates for Children of New York Executive Director Kim Sweet.

“The city needs to use this additional time to develop robust plans for supporting students in the year ahead, particularly the students with the greatest needs,” Sweet said. “Given that all students will continue to learn remotely at least some of the time for the foreseeable future, the DOE must develop and implement strategies to improve online instruction.” Read article

08.31.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | The city’s new plan to address student trauma does not go far enough to ensure those in crisis will find the help they need, two advocacy organizations say. These groups, Advocates for Children and Girls for Gender Equity, are also calling on the education department to halt punitive school discipline policies this fall.

“While we commend the DOE for including a commitment to trauma-informed care, social-emotional learning, and mental health support … the DOE’s plan falls short on specificity,” the groups wrote in a seven-page letter sent Friday to Mayor Bill de Blasio and schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “It does not specify the supports and services that students, families, and schools will be able to access and how they can be accessed.” Read article

08.30.2020 | City & State | “We heard about some students who were not able to connect at all and other students who were able to connect but the connection was very slow,” said Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children of New York, an education advocacy group that works primarily with low-income families. “Unfortunately, if it takes you 20 minutes to download a three-minute video lesson, you might give up.” Read article

08.29.2020 | Forbes | Maggie Moroff, Special Education Policy Coordinator at Advocates for Children of New York: "Schools still need to be more physically accessible, and students need access to technology that can help them adapt and learn. There needs to be more focus on literacy, using methods that are 'built around the 5 pillars of reading instruction — specifically including phonics instruction.'"

"Special Education is meant to deliver not just a bare minimum, but support sufficient for every student to “make progress” in their education. This is how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. We need better data collection and transparency, so everyone can determine accurately how schools are performing in their mandate to teach students with disabilities. It’s important to fight the tendency for the needs of disabled students to be viewed as competing against non-disabled students." Read article

08.28.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | To help students catch up, the education department offered small-group remote reading instruction for about 1,300 students with disabilities over the summer for 20-30 minutes each day. In a recent report, the group Advocates for Children recommended the city continue that effort this fall possibly by redeploying literacy coaches to work with students, and suggested it could help give a wider group of students access to rigorous reading instruction. 

“The shift to online and blended learning offers a unique opportunity in that individual students are no longer limited by the training and expertise of the educators who happen to be assigned to their particular school building,” the report said. Read article.