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Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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AFC in the News

10.24.2022 | Politico | “I think given the influx of newly arrived asylum-seeker students who may be arriving after that October 31 deadline, we would hope that the city would allow those schools to receive more funding for every student that enrolls thereafter,” said Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of the Immigrant Students Rights Project at Advocates for Children New York. 

The language barrier extends from classrooms to the city’s migrant housing, and the school system must send more Spanish-speakers to shelters to establish a direct line of communication, according to Rodriguez-Engberg of Advocates for Children New York. 

“The families that are living in shelter but attending DOE schools have their own unique needs by virtue of the fact that they’re living in shelter and that includes different access to basic necessities, space limitations, etc.,” she said. “School staff need to be very aware of those needs and ensure that they’re sensitive to the needs of students and parents.” Read article

10.11.2022 | The Uptowner | Sarah Part, a policy analyst with Advocates for Children, explained that while some students struggling with literacy may have learning disabilities, many are considered “instructional failures”: They struggle with reading because they were not taught well, or did not receive necessary support. 

“They get classified as having a disability,” Part said, “but their disability is caused by the fact that they did not receive high-quality core instruction in the first place.” The new city program will work with all students struggling to read, whether diagnosed with dyslexia or not. Read article

10.03.2022 | City Limits | But educators and advocates say there are high-need student populations the formula doesn’t account for, including students in temporary housing and in the foster care system. They say that in a city where over 100,000 students were homeless in the 2021-2022 school year, according to the Advocates of Children New York, the DOE should adapt its funding formula to better serve that population. 

Critics also say there aren’t sufficient accountability measures to ensure principals–who can allocate FSF funds at their discretion–use the weighted funds to serve the students they are intended for. Read article

10.02.2022 | NY1 | This week, the city released state test scores for math and english for third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. 

The results show a mixed bag for city schools. The city says the move to remote learning during the height of the pandemic seems to have had a negative impact on results, especially in math. 

Maggie Moroff, the senior special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children of New York, joined Rocco Vertuccio Sunday morning on NY1 to discuss the state test results. Watch video

09.29.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | Some advocates said the scores signal that schools need more resources, particularly for younger children who were learning to read when the pandemic first hit, pointing to the dip in reading pass rates for third and fourth graders. Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children New York, said “it will be critical” to learn from new programs focused on improving literacy. Read article

09.28.2022 | The 74 Million | Isabella Rieke, communications manager for Advocates for Children of New York, said the results underscored the urgency behind New York City moving  to overhaul its reading program. 

“While the overall ELA proficiency rate ticked upward, relative to 2019, the percentage of third graders scoring proficient fell by four percentage points and the rate for fourth graders fell by six percentage points,” she said in a statement. “These students would have been in first and second grades in March 2020—grades when children are mastering the relationships between sounds and letters and building the foundational literacy skills that will shape their future academic trajectory.” Read article

09.28.2022 | CBS News | The executive director of Advocates for Children of New York released the following statement: "The test results released today drive home the need for a fundamental overhaul of the City's approach to literacy instruction, as well as the urgency of providing extra support to students whose education was disrupted by the pandemic at an especially critical moment: the years when they were still learning how to read. While the overall ELA proficiency rate ticked upward, relative to 2019, the percentage of third graders scoring proficient fell by four percentage points and the rate for fourth graders fell by six percentage points. These students would have been in first and second grades in March 2020—grades when children are mastering the relationships between sounds and letters and building the foundational literacy skills that will shape their future academic trajectory. "Watch video

09.25.2022 | Gothamist | Some parents and education activists said they were disappointed and had hoped the school system would replace the entire curriculum immediately. 

“You can add more phonics, and that’s great, but if you don’t eliminate the old practices that we know don't work, you’re not going to solve the problem,” said Sarah Part, a policy analyst with Advocates for Children. "We need to see a shift in the underlying philosophy behind how we teach reading, and that requires a lot of teacher training and support." Read article

09.21.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | Maggie Moroff, a special education policy expert at Advocates for Children, said it would be “significant” if the city could serve more students with disabilities in traditional public schools and she appreciates “the DOE working to explain and think through [Banks’] comments.” 

“Our concern remains that all students with disabilities can get the supports they need here in New York City,” Moroff wrote, “and if that can’t happen in the public schools, it has to happen outside of them.” Read article

09.20.2022 | NEWSY | Recent data from New York City's mayor's office shows 43% of public-school students in foster care complete high school graduation on time, compared to 81% of their peers outside the system. 

"They're also much more likely to struggle with mental health challenges because of all the trauma that they've experienced. And all of those things compound and make it difficult for young people to complete their education," said Erika Palmer, supervising attorney at Advocates For Children. 

For the first time in New York, the Department of Education is introducing a city-wide central office to support students in foster care. 

It will fill nine newly created positions including six that will serve students in foster care and at least two supporting students and kids in temporary housing. The ninth position is yet to be named. It comes in response to relentless pleas from families, advocates, and local officials.  

Palmer said there's a misperception about these children being bad kids. She adds that their behavior is impacted by the instability in their lives. 

"We see students that, you know, have had to change schools in may or they have to change schools right before the end of the semester and then don't earn credit for that semester, have to repeat all of their classes. They get very frustrated," said Palmer. Watch video