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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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01.06.2017 | Advocates for Children has a new fact sheet on bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on race, national origin, immigration status, or religion. The fact sheet, which explains NYC Department of Education policy and what parents can do if their children experience bullying or discrimination, is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, ChineseFrench, Haitian Creole, Russian, and Urdu [PDF]. 

report cover12.08.2016 | Today, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) is releasing a report, Obstacles and Opportunities: Creating Career and Technical Education Pathways for Students with Disabilities [PDF], which analyzes access to high school-level career and technical education (CTE) programs for students with disabilities in New York State.  In 2015, less than 50% of students with disabilities graduated from high school in four years, compared to about 83% of general education students. The new report, which analyzes public data on outcomes for students in CTE programs, finds that more than 75% of students with disabilities who completed at least two-thirds of a CTE program went on to graduate, compared to about 90% of general education students—effectively cutting the graduation gap in half for these students.

The paper finds that although students with disabilities made up about 15% of the class that was expected to graduate in 2015, they comprised only 11.6% of students reported to have completed most of a CTE program. Based on data findings and interviews with professionals, special education advocates, and parents of students with disabilities, AFC recommends changes to policy and practice to address barriers to CTE.

View the press release [PDF]
Read the report [PDF]

12.01.2016 | Advocates for Children recently submitted “friend of the court” briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in two cases, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District and Stacy Fry and Brent Fry, et al. v. Napoleon Community Schools, et al. 

Endrew F. presents the important question of what makes an education “appropriate” as guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP drafted the brief on behalf of AFC. View the amicus brief [PDF

In Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools, AFC and the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) submitted an amicus brief in support of petitioners Stacy and Brent Fry, the parents of a student with cerebral palsy who was prescribed a service dog to aid her with everyday tasks. The brief argues that parents and children should not be required to exhaust the IDEA’s administrative remedies when the relief is available only under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act and not the IDEA. View the amicus brief [PDF]

10.19.2016 | Today, AFC submitted testimony to the New York City Council Committee on Education with recommendations for addressing bullying in New York City public schools and supporting LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. View testimony [PDF]

10.12.2016 | This November and December, the New York Region 1 Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) Collaborative is presenting a webinar series on transition to adulthood for students with disabilities! Topics include: graduation requirements and diploma options; supporting student participation in the IEP process; available resources for transition; and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

See the flyer [PDF] for more information and register online.
 

webinar flyer

09.30.2016 | Today, AFC submitted comments in response to the New York State Education Department’s proposed plan to promote inclusion among preschool and school-age students with disabilities. Read our comments [PDF]

09.21.2016 | Today, AFC is testifying before the New York City Council Committee on Education regarding access to Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs for students with disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs). CTE is shown to help keep at-risk students – such as ELLs and students with disabilities – engaged and on-track for graduation; but while students with disabilities and ELLs generally do well in the city’s CTE programs, both groups are underrepresented among CTE students. View testimony [PDF]

09.20.2016 | Today, AFC submitted comments to the New York City Department of Education regarding proposed changes to Chancellor’s Regulation A-101 regarding school transfers, admissions, and enrollment. Read our comments [PDF]

09.07.2016 | At Advocates for Children of New York, we are gearing up for the first day of school, a moment that invites us to reflect on what we do and how we want to impact the world around us. Each new school year brings new demands but also new opportunities to use our resources and expertise to improve the lives of children in New York City and across New York State. 

This summer started with a June and July that highlighted some of the terrible problems facing our society. Forty-nine people were murdered at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Communities across the country erupted in protest as two more videos showed men of color -- Alton Sterling and Philando Castile -- being killed in police shootings. And anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric continued to dominate the national political stage. 

For many of the young people we serve, gun violence, police brutality, racism, and prejudice are ever-present concerns. They have to navigate this treacherous terrain as they grow up and go to school; despite all that is going on around them, they have to feel safe enough to be able to learn and optimistic enough about their future to be motivated to try. When they encounter roadblocks to an appropriate education, it is critically important that they and their families have somewhere to turn for assistance. As an organization dedicated for 45 years to eradicating barriers to education based on factors like poverty, race, disability, and national origin, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to provide young people with the support they need to meet the challenges of their current environment and emerge with the education they need to live full and productive lives. 

As we prepare for the start of a new school year, we re-affirm our commitment to advocate for the children who most need our help to succeed in school -- the children whom the school system does not serve well for a variety of reasons, ranging from overt prejudice to implicit bias, from under-funded programs to inadequately trained staff. In the coming year, we will be expanding our advocacy for students who are LGBTQ and students who experience bullying. We will strengthen our partnerships with organizations serving NYC's diverse immigrant communities, including families that speak Spanish, Arabic, and Chinese. And we will continue our work to stop the school-to-prison pipeline by, for example, fighting for access to early childhood education, demanding appropriate support and services for students with disabilities, and advocating for students involved with the court system to get their education back on track. 

Thank you for your partnership and support as we work together towards a brighter future for New York's children. We're looking forward to a great year! 

Sincerely,
kim signature
Kim Sweet
Executive Director

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08.25.2016 | The first day of school is Thursday, September 8! In preparation, we've updated our back-to-school fact sheet for families of students with disabilities, which covers concerns that typically come up at this time of year, such as what to do if a child does not yet have a school assignment or the school assigned says they cannot serve the child’s needs; how to find an accessible school; and arranging for specialized transportation. View the fact sheet in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF]. 

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please call AFC’s Education Helpline: (866) 427-6033, Monday—Thursday, 10am—4pm.