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AFC in the News

09.01.2022 | News Nation Now | Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of Advocates for Children of New York, said they are concerned there isn’t enough staff at the schools who speak the migrant students’ language and are able to help their families. 

“It’s also a bigger challenge for students who are in a shelter and families who are in shelter, because they experience a whole different level of hardship and discrimination in their shelters,” Rodriguez-Engberg said. “We want to make sure that when they’re in school, they’re not feeling that way.” Read article

09.01.2022 | Conexión Migrante TV | "“Un problema que vemos ahora es que no hay suficiente personal que hable español o que hable el idioma que hablan las familias. Entonces, recientemente el departamento de educación iba a contratar coordinadores que trabajan en albergues para ayudar a las familias, pero no lo hicieron. requieren que esos coordinadores puedan hablar español." Watch video

08.30.2022 | NewsNation | “Our concern is that there isn’t sufficient staff at each school that is bilingual and that are knowledgeable to be able to help families and to help all the students are coming in,” said Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, an immigrant rights advocate. 

New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks is seeking more federal funding to help pay for more Spanish-speaking administrators and teachers. Read article

08.25.2022 | The CITY | Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of immigrant students’ rights at Advocates for Children New York, commended Project Open Arms but raised concerns over whether the city could properly implement the plan amid staff shortages. 

“We’re really happy that the city’s finally paying this level of attention to immigrant families,” she said. “We just really hope that they can actually follow through, and not just for this time, but also for the future, given that we see families coming in in this particular situation throughout the year.” 

Rodriguez-Engberg also has concerns over whether students will be entered in bilingual programs with teachers who speak English and the students’ native language, which is not available in all schools. The alternative would be a teacher trained to teach children of all backgrounds English, but without the support of a teacher knowing the language. 

She said it is also vital for the city to provide students with emotional support, with many having traumas or struggling to adjust to a new  country. 

“If you can imagine for a second sitting in a classroom where everything is happening in English, you can understand how frustrating and maybe just demoralizing that feels for a child,” she said.  Read article

08.19.2022 | PIX 11 | “Our concern is that there isn’t sufficient staff at each school that are bilingual and that are knowledgeable to be able to help families and to help all the students are coming in,” said Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of immigrant students’ rights at Advocates for Children New York. Watch video

08.19.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | “We know there aren’t enough bilingual programs in the city for all of the English language learners that qualify for them,” said Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of the Immigrant Students Rights Project at Advocates for Children New York. “We also know schools don’t always inform families of their right to elect bilingual programs.” 

Rodriguez-Engberg and other advocates worried that there won’t be enough bilingual social workers to help these students, who may be experiencing varying degrees of trauma after fleeing their home countries and relatives or friends. City officials said they plan to evaluate every student’s social-emotional needs using screeners that the district launched last school year. Read article

08.18.2022 | Telemundo | El alcalde Eric Adams declaró que no quiere que los niños enviados desde Texas por el gobernador Greg Abbott interrumpan su educación y diversas organizaciones se aliaron para brindar asesoría a sus padres para que continúen sus estudios. Watch video 

08.18.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | “Students living in shelter and students with disabilities who rely on bus service shouldn’t have to leave the program hours earlier than their peers,” said Randi Levine, from Advocates for Children. 

The city provided prepaid ride-sharing services for the home trip after the enrichment program, but parents had to accompany their children. Though the city covered the roundtrip for parents, it could still be a struggle for them time-wise. As of last week, Summer Rising families took roughly 7,000 prepaid rides, officials said. Read article

08.17.2022 | NY1 | Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of the Immigrants Students Rights project at Advocates for Children, says some families may want to seek bilingual programs, taught in English and Spanish. But not every school offers them. 

“All schools should be providing English as a new language, but not all schools have bilingual staff. You don’t need to be a bilingual teacher to teach English as a new language. And not all schools have bilingual social workers — which we assume these kids are probably going to need in order to help them with their social-emotional needs and any trauma that they’ve experienced,” she said. 

According to Rodriguez-Engberg, some families don’t even know they’re eligible to enroll their children in public school. 

“I think we have to start from the very beginning, making sure that anybody who is coming in contact with these families when they arrive is letting them know that they have the right to enroll in school, giving them the tools to do that, taking them if they need to to a family welcome center to help them enroll — and also working with them so they understand what their rights are,” she said. Watch video

08.16.2022 | Telemundo 47 | El Departamento de Educación indicaron que tienen ocho centros de inscripción de menores en toda la ciudad. Carlos Zapata habla con Rita Rodriguez-Enbgerg de Advocates for Children of Nueva York para más información. Watch video