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AFC in the News

07.07.2022 | The 74 | In step with his findings, Rohini Singh, assistant director at the School Justice Project for Advocates for Children of New York, said some schools are ratcheting up the punishments for incidents that would have been handled differently prior to the pandemic. 

This is particularly true of on-campus fights, she said: A scuffle between two children that drew a crowd of onlookers might not have resulted in an out-of-school suspension in the past, but has stark consequences today — and not only for the students at the heart of the tussle. Onlookers are also being targeted, she said, charged with an infraction called “group violence,” a punishment previously doled out only to those who planned an attack in advance. 

“The school is seeking a [lengthy] suspension for all of these students instead of looking at the individual circumstances, understanding what happened, the context,” Singh said.  Read article

07.07.2022 | BronxNet | Host Daren Jaime sits down with the Staff Attorney of the Immigrant Students' Rights Project at Advocates for Children, Diana Aragundi speaking about the initiative establishing a permanent, central system for immigrant family communications. Watch video

07.05.2022 | NY Post | Advocates on Tuesday continued to monitor how the city would address the unique needs of some students, like children with disabilities or living in homeless shelters. Summer Rising last year was criticized for being inaccessible to those students, which the Adams administration acknowledged when it announced the revamped program this spring.

Some of those problems still lingered on the first day of the program. “The bus showed up this morning, but there was no paraprofessional,” said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children, about one of the families who works with the advocacy group. “So the child was not allowed to get on the bus,” she said. Read article

06.14.2022 | City Limits | “This was a multi-faceted program,” explained Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of AFC’s Immigrant Students’ Rights Project, “in which the DOE created a working group, of which we were part.” 

The group worked on finding the most effective ways to communicate with immigrant parents which included things like sending postcard notices to families’ homes; reaching families over the phone, text messages or robocalls; using local ethnic media; launching the first city-wide campaign to translate Special Education documents; and partnering with immigrant-facing, community-based organizations to share a variety of updates from the DOE.

According to a recently published data analysis by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), an estimated 329,000 city students did not have a parent who speaks English fluently and 29,608 students’ parents have limited English proficiency (LEP) and speak a language outside those traditionally supported by the DOE. Read article | Leer en español

06.13.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | Juliet Eisenstein, a staff attorney with Advocates For Children’s Postsecondary Readiness Project, was hopeful that the board would continue to look at moving away from requiring students to pass exams in order to graduate as most other states have done. 

“This proposed amendment is a step towards recognizing that the Regents exams present a barrier to diplomas for many students who are otherwise ready to graduate high school,” she said. Read article

06.10.2022 | Univision | La asociación Advocates for Children of New York, le pide al alcalde Eric Adams que, dentro del presupuesto municipal, sean otorgados 6 millones de dólares a programas que se encarguen de acercar a padres inmigrantes a la educación de sus hijos. De acuerdo con un estudio publicado por esta organización, del millón de alumnos que hacen parte del distrito escolar unificado de nueva York, 544,000 son de familias inmigrantes. Watch video

06.09.2022 | NY1 | More than 329,000 public school students do not have a parent who is fluent in English — and a new report highlights the problems many of them face getting information from their children’s schools. 

“It's figuring out ways to communicate, which doesn't just entail translated documents. You have to make sure that parents are receiving the information, not just that it's being posted somewhere or that it's being sent in an email,” Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, the director of Advocates for Children’s Immigrant Students’ Rights Project, said. Watch video

06.09.2022 | amNY | “Our on-the-ground experience working with families has shown us that many parents never receive critical information when it is only available via translated documents posted online,” said Diana Aragundi, staff attorney at AFC. “For example, we have worked with immigrant parents who primarily speak languages like Nahuatl or Mixtec and so are forced to rely on their second language, Spanish, in order to communicate with their children’s schools, even though they have limited literacy in Spanish.” Read article

06.09.2022 | Politico Playbook PM | Of the more than 1 million students in New York City public schools, about 544,000 are from immigrant families and more than 329,000 do not have a parent who speaks English fluently, according to a new data analysis by the advocacy group Advocates for Children of New York. 

The group said the data, from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, shows that multifaceted approaches to communication are needed beyond making translated documents accessible online. The analysis also found that about 55,858 parents of students have no more than an eighth grade education in addition to not being proficient in English and that roughly 61,657 children of parents who have limited English proficiency live in households without broadband internet access. 

The group is part of the Language Access and Immigrant Family Communication Working Group, which sent a letter to city officials requesting an annual investment of $6 million to come up with a permanent, central system for the Department of Education to communicate with immigrant families. “If the new administration is serious about its desire to empower parents as true partners, then the City should be increasing — and certainly not cutting — the multi-faceted immigrant family communication and outreach initiative,” Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of AFC’s Immigrant Students’ Rights Project, said in a statement. Read article

06.06.2022 | PIX 11 | Advocates are calling for Mayor Eric Admas to add $5 million dollars back into the city budget to support mental health services for students. 

The current program, Mental Health Continuum, prioritizes wellness for students with serious mental health needs and helps train school staff. It is currently operating in 50 schools in the Bronx and Brooklyn but may end this month if not included in the city budget. 

A letter signed by more than 200 stakeholders is calling on the mayor to continue the funding for the program. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said they are reviewing the request through the budget process. Watch video