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Policy Reports Archive: 2000-09

Policy Reports Archive: 2000-09

Note: All policy reports are in PDF format and will open in a new window. To view PDF files, download the following free software: Get Adobe® Reader®.


Results of a Survey of All Candidates for Citywide Office 
In a survey conducted by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC)’s Junior Board, candidates in the 2009 New York City elections for Mayor, Public Advocate, and Comptroller provided answers to questions covering a variety of controversial issues that affect local public schools.

Empty Promises: A Case Study of Restructuring and the Exclusion of English Language Learners in Two Brooklyn High Schools 
Since 2002, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has attempted to reverse the city’s severe drop-out crisis through a large scale restructuring of high schools, focused mainly on closing large, comprehensive high schools and replacing them with small high schools that offer a more personalized learning environment. Unfortunately, this reform effort initially included a policy that allowed new small schools to exclude English Language Learners (ELLs), and many small schools still do not provide programs that ELLs need. To understand how the small schools movement has affected ELL students in New York City, we studied the restructuring of two large Brooklyn high schools, Lafayette High School in Bensonhurst and Tilden High School in East Flatbush. The report illustrates how as a result of this movement, ELLs—who experience some of the lowest graduation rates in the city—are left with fewer and fewer options or are simply left behind.

EDUCATE! INCLUDE! RESPECT! A Call for School Reform to Improve the Educational Experiences of Students with Disabilities in New York City 
The past seven years of education reform have not significantly improved outcomes, experiences or services for New York City’s160,000 public school students with disabilities, according to Educate! Include! Respect!, a report issued in April, 2009 by the ARISE Coalition, a group of parents, educators, advocates and other supporters of students with disabilities coordinated by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC). This report reviews the reform initiatives and performance data as well as the experiences of parents under the leadership of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein. It describes how Mayor Bloomberg’s Children First reforms have left students with disabilities out and calls for the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to focus on specific reform priorities.

Our Children Our Schools: A Blueprint for Creating Partnerships Between Immigrant Families and New York City Public Schools 
Over 60% of children in New York City public schools are immigrants or the children of immigrants, but this report by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) shows that immigrant families face significant obstacles to participating in their children’s education. The report, written in collaboration with immigrant advocates and community groups throughout the city, shows that many immigrant parents remain shut out of school activities and leadership opportunities despite the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE’s) recent efforts to increase parent involvement in schools. The report offers a number of concrete solutions for building stronger and more meaningful partnerships between schools, immigrant parents, and community leaders.


Stuck in the Middle: The Problem of Overage Middle School Students in New York City 
In recent years, community-based providers and school officials that serve students in the public school system have noticed a disturbing number of sixteen-year-old seventh graders or seventeen-year-old eighth graders who are appearing (or staying) in middle schools across the city. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) does not make data on overage middle schoolers publicly available, but educators and advocates working in this field have evidence that the population is substantial. In nine middle schools in the Bronx that serve a combined student population of over 6,000 students, 26% of the students are overage. The report profiles a diverse cross-section of overage middle school students, identifies promising practices for addressing the problem, and provides detailed recommendations to the DOE.

School Pushout: Where Are We Now? 
In 2007, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) surveyed 145 New York City youth to explore what factors cause students to leave school. This report provides insight into the educational experiences and aspirations of out-of-school youth in New York City. The majority of students surveyed were told to leave school for reasons such as cutting class or having bad grades – reasons that do not legally justify excluding a student from school. More than a third of the students in this report never met with a high school guidance counselor, and almost half did not know they had a legal right to remain in school until age 21. One hundred and twenty-six of the 145 youth surveyed want to continue their education and go to college.


Dead Ends: The Need for More Pathways to Graduation for Overage, Under-Credited Students in New York City 
An estimated 138,000 of the 1.1 million New York City students are overage and under-credited (OA/UC) and are out of school or at-risk for dropping out of school. In response to this problem, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) began creating new programming specifically for these students. The city has two divisions, the Office of Multiple Pathways to Graduation (OMPG) and District 79, which offer alternative educational options to meet the needs of the OA/UC population. However, according to a briefing paper released by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), pathways to graduation have not been created for all students and some students are left with dead ends under the current system. The briefing paper specifically examines the ability of the OMPG schools to meet the instructional needs of English Language Learners (ELLs), students with special education needs, students who are older with few or no credits and students who are pregnant and parenting.

Transitioning to Nowhere: An Analysis of the Planning and Provision of Transition Services to Students with Disabilities in New York City 
Approximately 13,000 students with disabilities exit the New York City public school system each year. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) is responsible for preparing these individuals for independent living, vocational training, employment, higher education, and the other post-secondary opportunities awaiting them. Despite this obligation, the DOE does not have sufficient systems or programs in place to prepare students with disabilities for their transition to life after high school, according to a report released by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC).

School Year Filled with Missed Communications: Despite Chancellor’s Regulation, Immigrant Parents Still Face Language Barriers 
This report documented that two out of three parents are not receiving the most critical school document, their child's report card, in a language that they can understand. Similarly, over one third (37%) of the parents surveyed did not receive translated notices to attend parent-teacher conferences. Sixty percent of parents surveyed were not aware of the translation and interpretation services available to them. The report's findings are based on almost 900 parent surveys, 14 focus groups with over a hundred parents, and over 100 school, registration centers, and borough high school fair site visits.


A Bad Start to the School Year: Despite New Regulation Immigrant Parents Still Face Major Language Barriers 
This report reveals serious lapses in the provision of language assistance services to immigrant parents found during Advocates for Children of New York (AFC)’s month-long monitoring of high school registration centers and a survey of select parent coordinators.

So Many Schools, So Few Options: How Mayor Bloomberg’s Small High School Reforms Deny Full Access to English Language Learners (ELLs) 
This report utilizes enrollment data from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to examine the representation of ELLs and immigrant students in both small and large schools, as well as the extent to which small high schools have not been created in areas with large and growing immigrant student populations.

Up Against the Odds: New York City’s Homeless Children Lose Out in School 
This report found that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) must increase its efforts to ensure the protection of homeless students’ legal rights to education. The report underscores the importance of providing education to homeless children and youth and the need for increased coordination among city agencies and the DOE to provide services to these students.

An In-depth Look at Free Tutoring Services Under the No Child Left Behind Act in New York City: A Focus on English Language Learners 
This briefing paper provides an analysis of New York City Department of Education (DOE) statistics regarding student eligibility and enrollment in Supplemental Education Services (SES) and outlines the results of a survey of all 2004-2005 DOE-approved SES Providers. This study was undertaken to examine both the extent to which students in New York City (NYC) are being provided SES and the capacity of SES providers to serve the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs).


In Harm's Way: A Survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students Who Speak About Harassment and Discrimination in NYC Schools 
This report examines the results of a survey to determine whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students in New York City experience a safe and supportive learning environment. The report also examines the current state of the law meant to protect students from harassment and discrimination in schools. The results of this work were disturbing- most LGBT young people surveyed experienced extensive harassment and/or discrimination in New York City schools, both by peers and by school staff.

Leaving School Empty Handed: A Report on Graduation and Dropout Rates for Students who Receive Special Education Services In New York City 
This report examines the graduation outcomes of the more than 170,000 children currently classified as having disabilities and in need of special education services in New York City, based on Federal, New York State and New York City data from the school years between 1996-1997 and 2003-2004.

Advocates for Children of New York’s Project Achieve: A Model Project Providing Education Advocacy for Children in the Child Welfare System 
AFC has created a model program called Project Achieve to ensure that children in or at risk of placement in foster care receive access to appropriate educational services. There are over 20,000 children in foster care in New York City, and those of school age are among the most at-risk students in the city’s public schools.

School Push-Outs: An Urban Case Study 
This study describes the efforts undertaken by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) to address the push-out problem in NYC.

Holding Back Students Damages Their Educational Progress: An Advocacy Report 
This report presents research that demonstrates why retention policies are damaging to students, and presents methods for advocating against retention.


An Overview of Research on the Effectiveness of Retention on Student Achievement for New York City School Children 
This report examines the harmful effects of retention, including the blanket strategy of using a single test to determine if a student should be held back. This report finds that retention impedes the educational progress of children and leads primarily to lower achievement and higher dropout rates.

Children in Crisis: Advocates for Children of New York's Domestic Violence Education Advocacy Project 
During the 2001-2002 school year, AFC piloted a project called the Domestic Violence Education Advocacy Project that provided individual school-related advocacy for children who had been exposed to domestic violence or abuse and who were having significant problems in school. These children were unable to perform up to their academic potential as a result of suffering from undetected and untreated trauma-related illnesses. AFC found that the public school system, in particular the special education system, bears the brunt of this problem.

Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in New York City: An Assessment of Current Special Education Service Delivery 
This report assesses the manner in which special education services are delivered to children in New York City who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, with a particular focus on the delivery of services to poor children and children of color.

From Translation to Participation: A Survey of Parent Coordinators in New York City and Their Ability to Assist Non-English Speaking Parents 
This report examines the role of Parent Coordinators and their ability to serve the needs of Limited English Proficient (LEP) parents. The New York City Department of Education (DOE) created a Parent Coordinator position at every public school to facilitate involvement by LEP parents in their children’s education.

Losing Our Future: How Minority Youth are Being Left Behind by the Graduation Rate Crisis 
This report highlights the urgent need to address the impending crisis of minority groups not graduating from high school at troubling rates.

Denied At the Door: Language Barriers Block Immigrant Parents from School Involvement 
This report addresses the lack of meaningful access afforded to parents with limited English proficiency to their children’s schools and the school system due to language differences. Evidence suggests that parental involvement in a child’s education is a key factor to his/her success in school. Yet, New York City and New York State have failed to ensure that immigrant and Limited English Proficient parents have the most basic access to their children’s schools.


Serving Those Most In Need Or Not? A Report on the Implementation of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)'s Supplemental Education Services in New York City 
This report examines the results of surveys that were conducted to assess the implementation and effectiveness of Supplemental Education Services (SES). These tutoring and remediation services were provided for the first time in 2002-2003 to over 240,000 eligible children in schools “in need of improvement.” The results of the surveys show major problems with implementation of SES in New York City, especially for students with disabilities and those classified as English Language Learners.


Pushing Out At-Risk Students: An Analysis of High School Discharge Figures 
A joint report by Advocates for Children of New York and the Office of Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum. This report examines data documenting students in New York City who have been designated as “discharged” from the school system, an indicator that has received little public attention. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of these discharges may have been forced “push-outs” by school administrators of students who have a legal right to remain in public schools.


Learning Together, Lessons in Inclusive Education in New York City 
This report examines a group of programs in NYC public schools that prove that integration of children with special needs into regular classrooms is not only possible but also desirable for children with many different types of disabilities and with differing needs.

Creating a Formula for Success: Why English Language Learner Students Are Dropping Out of School, and How to Increase Graduation Rates 
This report analyzes the educational outcomes of English Language Learners (ELLs) since the implementation of new graduation standards in New York State and assesses the implementation of promised improvements in the education provided to ELLs. The new standards require ELLs to pass the English Language Arts Regents, an exam designed for native speakers.

Still Waiting After All These Years: Inclusion of Children with Special Needs in New York City Public Schools 
This report looks at the history of special education services in the New York City school system and at the differing views regarding how children with disabilities should be treated.

Report from the Front Lines: What's Needed to Make New York's ESL and Bilingual Programs Succeed 
This report focuses on one of the ingredients most fundamental for English Language Learners (ELLs) --their teachers-- and the resources they possess to teach ELLs. It also addresses the impact of new graduation and promotion standards for ELLs, the challenges teachers face, and steps the New York City public schools need to take to overcome these challenges.


Playing by the Rules When the System Doesn't: Immigrant Families and Summer School in New York 
This report discusses findings from surveys conducted during the summer of 2000 to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the Year 2000 Summer program, an integral part of the New York City Board of Education’s updated promotion policy. Surveys focused on English Language Learners and children from immigrant families.

Educational Neglect: The Delivery of Educational Services to Children in New York City's Foster Care System 
This report shows the results of surveys of individuals involved in the delivery of educational services to children in foster care as well as to the children and parents themselves. The main institutions in foster children’s lives fail to put into place the fundamental building blocks that could help these at-risk children meet with educational success.

Analysis of the Board of Education's Change of Policy Regarding the Retention of Students 
This report examines changes initiated by the Board of Education to end the policy of "social promotion."

An Overview of National Research on the Effectiveness of Retention on Student Achievement 
This report is a review of the research on the efficacy of retention- the blanket strategy the Board of Education planned to use to help students meet the new high standards set out by the Board of Regents. It demonstrates that retention impedes the progress of children in learning the material they have missed and leads primarily to drop out and educational failure.