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Paige, a bright third grade student on the autism spectrum, sat at home for nearly two months waiting for a school placement that would meet her needs. 

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News & Media


05.06.2014 | Today AFC staff attorney Paulina Davis testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education on the need to improve charter school accountability and oversight, particularly with regard to discipline policies and the recruitment, enrollment, and retention of students with disabilities and English Language Learners. AFC supports the Council’s bill calling for reports to the DOE on student demographic data for all co-located schools. View testimony [PDF

04.10.2014 | We would like to thank everyone who called, emailed, and rallied in support of making full-day Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) available for all four-year-old children in New York City. We are very pleased that the final state budget includes a dedicated funding stream with $300 million this year to expand full-day UPK in New York City. Now we need your help to spread the word that it is time for families of children born in 2010 to apply to Universal Pre-K programs for September! 

graphic with summary of upk info
UPK at Public Schools:
Parents can apply to UPK programs located at public schools by completing a centralized application form online or in person at an Enrollment Office by April 23rd. Parents should rank their choices for UPK programs at public schools on one form. Admission for these programs is not first-come, first-served. The online application is available in English and Spanish, and the application form that gets returned to an Enrollment Office is available in 10 languages. Staff at the Enrollment Offices can also use a phone translation service to assist families speaking other languages.

UPK at Community-Based Organizations:
Parents can apply to UPK programs located at community-based organizations (CBOs) by contacting each CBO directly and completing an individual application at each CBO. The application process for CBO programs is ongoing, and we advise parents to apply early to any CBO programs. The application form that gets returned to each CBO is available in 10 languages.

Parents may apply to UPK programs at public schools and at CBOs using the two different application processes described above.

All families of children born in 2010 may apply for UPK. Preschool students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that recommend Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services or related services may receive these services at their UPK programs. Preschool students with IEPs that recommend half-day special classes or half-day special classes in integrated settings may participate in UPK classes for the rest of the day.

The list of UPK programs, including the new full-day options, is available on the Pre-K website or at an Enrollment Office.

Translated versions of Pre-K Admissions resources are available on the following pages: Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Urdu

04.04.2014 | On Wednesday, April 30, the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma will be sponsoring a policy briefing in Albany with State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and Senator John Flanagan. Join us to learn more about the current graduation crisis in New York State and opportunities for offering alternative pathways to a diploma.

Download a PDF copy of the invitation.

policy briefing invite snapshot

03.24.2014 | Today, AFC will testify before the City Council General Welfare Committee about the importance of providing adequate funding for high-quality early childhood education programs for young children from low-income backgrounds. View testimony [PDF

03.13.2014 | On March 12, AFC's Junior Board and NYU Law School's Education Law and Policy Society held a panel on deconstructing the school-to-prison pipeline to keep kids in NYC schools. The panel was moderated by AFC Skadden Fellow Nick Sheehan. More than 110 attendees learned about several models for positive discipline and heard NYC student Kevin Rivera give a moving account of his personal experience with suspension and restorative justice. View photos from the panel on our facebook page.

Click to view a larger version of the invite.
panel invitation

03.11.2014 | We’re excited to announce the release of Advocates for Children’s first organizational Policy Agenda! Based on our on-the-ground experience helping thousands of families each year navigate the New York City public school system, we identify systemic problems and advocate for policy change to improve educational programs, opportunities, and outcomes for all students.

Our Policy Agenda includes specific proposals regarding:

  • The school-to-prison pipeline and positive approaches to discipline; 
  • Students with disabilities; 
  • English Language Learners and language access; 
  • School stability for students in temporary housing or foster care; 
  • Access to high-quality early childhood education programs; 
  • Multiple pathways to high school graduation; and 
  • Protection from discrimination for students in traditional public schools and charter schools.

Learn more about our policy priorities or download a copy of the complete Agenda.

02.11.2014 | Today AFC will be testifying before the New York City Council Committee on Education and Committee on Women’s Issues in support of New York City’s plan to create a new funding stream to pay for a rapid expansion of Universal Pre-K. If we are serious about improving our schools, we must give every four-year-old child the opportunity to attend a high-quality, full-day prekindergarten program. And we must do it now. After all, children have only one chance to go to preschool. In implementing this plan, we look forward to working with the City Council and administration to make sure that this program serves all preschoolers, including preschoolers with developmental delays or disabilities, English Language Learners, and preschoolers living in temporary housing or foster care, so that the children who need this program most can benefit from it. View testimony [PDF]

01.28.2014 | Today Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York, submitted testimony for the New York State Education Budget Hearing. In her testimony, Kim Sweet applauds the Governor’s call to make pre-kindergarten truly universal, but points out that the funding in the budget proposal is insufficient to reach this goal. As a result, she calls on the Legislature to support Mayor de Blasio’s plan to expand pre-kindergarten rapidly in New York City. “Children have only one opportunity to go to preschool,” she states. “With the harder Common Core standards and higher expectations for children at every grade level, we cannot afford to wait any longer.” She also makes recommendations regarding the Governor’s preschool special education reform, special education waiver, after-school, and anti-discrimination proposals. View the full testimony [PDF]

01.27.2014 | AFC submitted comments to the New York State Education Department regarding proposed amendments to the State's Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver. AFC commented on amendments addressing testing for students with disabilities [PDF] and English Language Learners [PDF].