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Paige’s Story

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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cover of guide07.27.2017 | AFC has a new guide on the rights of students with disabilities facing discipline! Students with disabilities have special rights and protections when they are suspended from school or removed from class, and one of those rights is a meeting called a Manifestation Determination Review (MDR). This comprehensive guide explains what happens at an MDR, how to prepare for the meeting, what happens afterwards, and what parents can do if they disagree with the school’s decision.  

Read the English guide [PDF]
Read the Spanish guide [PDF]


page 1 of data brief07.24.2017 | Today, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) released a data brief analyzing city and state data showing that English Language Learners (ELLs) are under-represented in career and technical education (CTE) programs at New York City high schools. Entitled Missed Potential: English Language Learners Under-Represented in NYC Career and Technical Education Programs, the brief examines ELL enrollment at schools that offer CTE, as well as their participation and completion rates in the CTE programs at those schools.

The paper offers a list of recommended steps the New York City Department of Education can take to begin to address barriers for ELLs, including resolving recruitment and enrollment issues, offering extra training for CTE instructors in serving ELLs, and providing classroom supports in CTE schools—such as bilingual CTE classes and translation and interpretation services. 

Read the data brief [PDF]
Read the news release [PDF]

06.19.2017 | Today, AFC sent a letter to the New York State Assembly and Senate, urging them to approve a long-term extension of mayoral control as a stand-alone bill that is not tied to other changes in education policy. View our letter [PDF]

guide cover06.16.2017 | AFC has a new guide for court-involved youth and their families! The guide (available in English and Spanish) includes a basic overview of the education rights of young people ages 7 to 21 in New York City who are or were involved in the juvenile or criminal justice system. It includes information about the education rights of youth in community and court-ordered settings (such as juvenile detention, juvenile placement, or Rikers Island). It also has information to help students transition back to school and find a school that meets the student’s needs. 

Read the English guide [PDF]
Read the Spanish guide [PDF]

05.25.2017 | Today AFC is testifying before the New York City Council about the Fiscal Year 2018 city budget proposal. We urge the Administration and City Council to increase funding for DOE social workers for students living in homeless shelters, Restorative Practices and other alternatives to school suspensions, and school accessibility. View testimony [PDF]

05.17.2017 | As the families of more than 190,000 immigrant students across New York State wrestle with the current climate of fear and uncertainty, a new report finds major inconsistencies in how New York’s school districts are responding and the extent to which they are rising to the challenge of protecting and supporting the immigrant students and families they are charged to serve.  

The report, Safe Havens: Protecting and Supporting New York State’s Immigrant Students  [PDF] — released today by The Education Trust–New York, Advocates for Children of New York, the New York Immigration Coalition and The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Inc. — finds that while the New York State Education Department (SED) and the Attorney General’s Office, as well as several individual school districts, have taken a number of important steps, there is much more to do. 

Based on a review of documents from the 25 school districts that together enroll 80 percent of the state’s immigrant students, Safe Havens spotlights positive practices and troubling trends and highlights four critical areas where change is needed:

  • Welcoming all students regardless of immigration status or national origin. 
  • Collection and handling of personal information. 
  • Responding to federal immigration officials. 
  • Supporting students and families when a parent, family member, or guardian is at risk of deportation or has been deported. 

Drawing on the experiences of immigrant community-based organizations, advocates, and service providers, the report includes a set of recommendations for stronger supports at the state, school district and school levels. The report’s recommendations include that SED: assist school districts to provide greater support for immigrant students to ensure their long-term success; reiterate that questions about national origin should not be asked during the student registration process; encourage school districts to adopt — and in some cases, strengthen — their protocols for how to respond to any request for access by ICE; and reinforce the importance of providing social-emotional support. 

“The recommendations in Safe Havens provide a clear roadmap for steps that New York State and district leaders should take to ensure that immigrant students and their families feel safe and supported by public schools,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of Advocates for Children of New York. “We appreciate New York State’s and New York City’s efforts to date and believe that the recommendations in the report will assist school districts across New York in meeting the ongoing concerns of immigrant families.”

Read the report [PDF]

03.21.2017 | Today AFC testified before the New York City Council Committee on Education on the fiscal year 2018 Preliminary Budget. We urge the Administration to include increased funding for DOE social workers for students living in homeless shelters. In addition, we request that the budget include additional resources to expand restorative practices and pilot a mental health support continuum in 20 high-needs schools. View our testimony [PDF]

02.14.2017 | Today, AFC is testifying at the New York State Joint Legislative Public Hearing on the 2017-18 Elementary and Secondary Education Budget proposal, urging legislators to invest in education initiatives such as improved access to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, the development of performance-based assessments, positive approaches to discipline, and prekindergarten. View our testimony [PDF]

02.08.2017 | Yesterday, Betsy DeVos was sworn in as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. In the months ahead, we expect to see changes in the implementation and enforcement of federal education laws, as well as shifts in funding priorities that may have serious implications for the low-income students and families we serve. We at Advocates for Children of New York remain dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the quality education they deserve, no matter where they come from, how little money they have, or how much support they need. Earlier today, we sent a letter to Secretary DeVos, emphasizing the importance of the federal government’s role in ensuring that all students are safe and supported at school and urging her to prioritize strengthening public education for children at risk of academic failure or discrimination. Read a copy of our letter [PDF].

At AFC, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us as we continue the fight for opportunity and equity in education so that all children may realize their potential. With your support, we’ll be ready to meet whatever challenges lie ahead.

No matter what happens in Washington, we will always be steadfast in our commitment to protecting the rights of all students. 

 

01.17.2017 | Today at 5pm, the United States Senate will begin the confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos, who was nominated to be the next U.S. Secretary of Education. Advocates for Children of New York believes that this position requires extensive experience with public education and a strong record of working to strengthen public schools, which serve the vast majority of our nation’s children. Ms. DeVos does not have sufficient experience with public education. She has focused her education advocacy on opposing school accountability measures that help protect students’ rights and on supporting school vouchers that divert funding from public schools. Therefore, AFC opposes her nomination and sent a letter to New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand [PDF], urging them to oppose her confirmation. See our letter for more information, and call your Senators and ask them to vote against confirming Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. You can call 202-224-3121 to be connected to your Senators’ offices.