NYC Must Fully Fund Schools Supporting Asylum Seeker Children to Meet Needs of All Students

NYC Must Fully Fund Schools Supporting Asylum Seeker Children to Meet Needs of All Students

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander speaks in support of Immigrant Workers During May Day Parade at Washington Square Park in New York City on May 1, 2022. (Shutterstock)

New York, NY: On October 21, the New York Immigration Coalition, Comptroller Brad Lander, City Council Committee on Education Chair Rita Joseph, allies and immigrant New Yorkers rallied at the Tweed Courthouse steps to call for transparency, full funding for, and proper placement of newcomer asylum seeker students in New York City schools.

Currently, October 31 is the day that schools submit their final headcounts for budgeting to the NYC Department of Education (DOE). But new asylum seeker children may continue to arrive beyond this date. In order for schools to meet the needs of all of their students, schools must be adequately resourced and receive funding for students who arrive after October 31. The DOE must also place newcomers, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELLs), in the right schools with the right academic and social-emotional supports to meet their unique needs and unlock their potential. This includes older newcomer youth, who now have access to six new programs opened by the DOE in Transfer High Schools outside of Manhattan – a model that should be deepened and fully funded to serve newcomer immigrant youth where they live and work.

Andrea Ortiz, Senior Manager of Education Policy, New York Immigration Coalition said:
“New York City schools have been supporting immigrant students for a very long time. But the monthly increase in the enrollment of asylum seeker young people is new. As a result, the city must ensure that they are fully funding and supporting schools to meet the needs of their entire student population by basing funding calculations for schools on enrollment numbers monthly rather than on one arbitrary date annually. Additionally, students must be placed in schools that are experienced and best placed to meet the myriad needs of immigrant students. Six new ELL programs in Transfer High Schools are an exciting and crucial step in addressing the longstanding gap in programs close to where older immigrant youth live and work. For those who have been here for 2 years already, and for those arriving now, New York City must fully fund the schools that best serve our newcomers and continue to enhance and expand innovative models for our older newcomer youth. We must invest in the success of every New York student to safeguard the city’s economic success in the future.”

Brad Lander, New York City Comptroller said:
“Showing up for newcomer students means ensuring that their schools get the funding and resources they need to support a wide variety of new needs, from language assistance to counseling. Many schools were already facing funding and staffing shortfalls due to cuts based on enrollment projections, yet they are working hard to welcome these new students from asylum-seeking families. We’re asking for some transparency from the Department of Education so that we can help ensure schools are resources to support these students.”

Shahana Hanif, NYC Council Member District 39, Committee on Immigration (Chair) said:
“Since the summer, we’ve had over almost 5,000 school-aged children come through New York City seeking asylum. Our City must step up to ensure our education system is equipped to properly care for these new students. With robust investments, proper student placements, and prioritization of social-emotional support, we can ensure every school-age asylum seeker gets the help they need in our school system. These are simple policy fixes that will make a world of difference to thousands of children. We have the tools to meet this moment – we’re asking DOE for the coordination and transparency measures to ensure this gets done.”

Rita Joseph, NYC Council Member District 40, Committee on Education (Chair) said:
“New York City has a moral imperative to support our students from asylum seeking families. The DOE must provide language access for all students, an extension of the deadline for when schools are required to submit their enrollment numbers, an expedited process for getting midyear adjustment funds released prior to January. New York City is a city of immigrants, and as an immigrant myself and a former public school teacher, this fight is deeply personal to me. I thank Comptroller Lander and the New York Immigration Coalition for their partnership in working on behalf of our city’s young people.”

Rita Rodriquez-Engberg, Director, Advocates for Children New York said:
“New York City needs to enroll newcomer youth in schools that are best equipped to help them succeed – with teachers who help ELLs learn English while they learn new subjects, bilingual social workers, and wrap-around supports. Getting placed in the right school is essential for all our newcomers, and especially for older youth who have less time to earn a high school diploma. We’re very encouraged that six additional Transfer High Schools are welcoming newcomer ELLs age 16-21, and we look forward to continuing our work with the DOE to develop this important model program.”

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