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thumbnail image of first page of call to action09.21.2023 | Today, more than 150 organizations are calling on elected leaders to sustain critical education programs currently supported by temporary federal COVID-19 stimulus funding set to run dry in June 2024.

Over the last few years, New York City Public Schools (NYCPS) has benefitted from billions of dollars in federal stimulus funding. NYCPS has used this funding not only to address temporary pandemic-related challenges, but also to stave off cuts to existing initiatives and to launch and expand a range of essential programs to meet needs that existed long before the pandemic and will remain long after the federal COVID-19 relief funds expire. For example, this year federal dollars are being used for 3-K, preschool special education, Summer Rising, 450 school social workers, school nurses, community schools, restorative justice, 60 school psychologists, 75 coordinators working in homeless shelters, bilingual staff, translation and interpretation, and dyslexia and literacy initiatives.

Federal funding expires next year and there is not yet a plan to sustain these critical programs and supports; defunding them would disproportionately hurt students from low-income families, students of color, and the students with the greatest needs. The threat to these programs existed even before Mayor Adams’ recent announcement of a 14% cut to each agency, including NYCPS.

The call-to-action notes the urgency of the situation: “We are at a critical juncture. Our elected leaders must choose between allowing these programs to end on their watch—dealing a massive setback to public education—or taking action to identify new funding sources so students can continue receiving critical supports and services. We are counting on our elected leaders to sustain essential education programs and build on the progress made, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of students for years to come.”

The organizations—which include civil rights organizations, social service providers, early childhood programs, advocacy organizations, and groups representing students, parents, and educators—are launching a campaign calling on elected leaders to save these programs.

Read the call-to-action [PDF]
View the press release as a PDF

09.07.2023 | Stay up-to-date with the latest news about transportation, enrollment, and other back to school issues, and access key resources, including our Back To School Troubleshooting webinar. Visit AFC's Back To School Hub

08.29.2023 | We've updated our annual factsheet for families of students with disabilities, which covers issues NYC families often encounter at the start of the school year, including enrollment, busing, placement, and more. The factsheet is available in English and Spanish. We will be updating the factsheet throughout the fall as more information becomes available. 

Get the factsheet in English [PDF] or Spanish

06.21.2023 | Today, AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education in support of Intro. 857, to expand the NYC Department of Education’s data reporting requirements to include metrics on students in foster care, and Intro. 121, to require the DOE to report annually on therapeutic crisis intervention training in schools. Read our testimony [PDF]

06.13.2023 | Today, AFC is testifying before the New York City Council Committee on Immigration and Committee on Women and Gender Equity regarding early childhood education, calling on the City to extend funding for Promise NYC in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget. Read our testimony [PDF

05.24.2023 | Today, AFC is testifying before the New York City Council Committee on Finance regarding the FY24 Executive Budget, speaking out against proposed budget cuts. In particular, three programs included as priorities in the City Council’s response to the preliminary budget are on the chopping block, with funding that will expire in June unless extended in the FY 24 adopted budget, even though the need for these programs has only grown. Instead of cutting funding from the New York City Public Schools budget, the City should be investing to address pressing needs. Read our testimony [PDF]

May 2023 | Click on the links below to learn more about each of AFC's advocacy priorities [PDF] for the Fiscal Year 2024 City budget. 

At a time when New York City is receiving an increase in education funding from New York State and continues to have unspent federal COVID-19 relief funding, schools should receive additional resources to meet the needs of their students—and certainly should not lose funding.

Unfortunately, several key education programs are on the chopping block—with funding that will expire in June unless extended in the FY 2024 budget. The City should:

Note: All of the below documents are in PDF format and will open in a new window. To view PDF files, download the following free software: Get Adobe® Reader® external link, opens in new tab. If you are unable to access PDFs, please call our Helpline (866-427-6033) or email info@afcnyc.org, and we will be happy to provide the information in an alternative format.

Extend and baseline key programs funded with city funding scheduled to expire in June 2023:

Make additional investments to build upon progress being made and take advantage of opportunity for change:

Plan now to sustain long-term education initiatives funded with federal COVID-19 relief funding that expires in the fall of 2024.

05.09.2023 | Today, Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), issued the following statement in response to the Chancellor’s announced changes to literacy instruction in New York City Public Schools: 

Parents count on schools to teach their children how to read, but New York City’s approach to literacy instruction and curriculum selection hasn’t been working for students or for educators. While no elementary English Language Arts curriculum is perfect—and any curriculum is only as good as its implementation—the City has a responsibility to ensure that schools are using research-based programs, that the curriculum reflects the rich diversity of the student population, and that teachers have the materials and training they need to be successful in the classroom. Establishing consistency within schools and within districts won’t solve all the problems, but it is an important step in the right direction. The choice of reading curriculum is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to strengthening core instruction and scaling change system wide. The plans announced today will help ensure schools abandon ineffective practices, enable districts to provide more robust support to schools and teachers around implementation, and help move us towards a system in which every child gets the quality instruction they need to become a strong reader.

View the statement as a PDF

03.31.2023 | AFC has updated our LGBTQ+ Education Guide, a a guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) students and allies in New York City Department of Education schools. It lays out LGBTQ+ students’ rights and what to do if these rights are violated. We hope this guide helps you understand your rights and gives you tips for speaking up for yourself and others. Get the guide [PDF]

03.15.2023 |  Today, AFC testified before the City Council Committee on Education regarding the FY 24 preliminary budget, urging the City to extend funding for education initiatives left out of the preliminary budget and invest in initiatives to support the students with the greatest needs. Read our testimony [PDF]