Research and Policy Staff Attorney: Charter Schools Initiative
Advocates for Children of New York, Inc. (AFC) seeks a dedicated attorney determined to make a difference for NYC families through direct representation, policy advocacy, and community outreach and training. The Charter Schools Initiative attorney will ensure that families of students attending charter schools have meaningful access to appropriate educational services for their children in the country’s largest school district during an unparalleled time of difficulty for low-income families.
Direct Representation: The attorney will advocate for students who are in danger of being suspended or expelled, are in need of special education supports, or are experiencing discrimination in their charter schools. As part of this advocacy, the attorney will provide families with information on their rights in charter schools; facilitate referrals for evaluations; participate in school meetings; advocate to school and New York City Department of Education administrators; identify appropriate school placements and services for students; and represent families at suspension/expulsion hearings and special education administrative hearings when necessary.
The day-to-day responsibilities of administrative hearing representation include conducting intake, reviewing school records and psychological evaluations, attending school meetings and speaking to relevant parties in the student’s life, and researching and visiting schools and services that may serve as potential remedies. After a request for a hearing is drafted and filed, the attorney will negotiate settlement or litigate at a hearing, where the attorney will execute the opening statement, witness testimony, closing argument, and legal briefing required to prevail.
Policy Advocacy: The attorney will work on systemic advocacy efforts regarding charter schools, including efforts related to special education and discipline of students at charter schools.
Outreach and Training: Through the development of materials and presentations, the attorney will educate parents and charter school staff about parents’ and students’ rights in charter schools with a focus on rights related to special education and discipline. The attorney will also provide technical assistance to other attorneys and advocates who represent students in charter school discipline, special education, or discrimination matters.
AFC is a social justice organization that strives to ensure a high-quality education for New York students who face barriers to academic success, focusing on students from low-income backgrounds. AFC works on behalf of children and youth who are at greatest risk of academic failure due to poverty, race, ethnicity, disability, homelessness, immigration status/limited English proficiency, or involvement in the child welfare or juvenile justice systems.
We use uniquely integrated strategies to advance systemic reform, empower families and communities, and advocate for the educational rights of individual students. This position will take the most urgent charter school cases from AFC’s Helpline, which serves close to 4,000 families each year.
- Law degree required and admission to the NYS bar preferred;
- Demonstrated commitment to serving the public interest;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Strong research and analytical skills;
- Experience working with low-income communities;
- Organizational skills, flexibility, initiative, maturity, and cooperative attitude;
- One to two years litigation experience preferred;
- Experience and/or knowledge of education, school discipline, disability, or general civil rights law is strongly preferred
- Proficiency in a language other than English, especially Spanish, preferred.
Expected Start Date
The position is available immediately, and resumes will be considered on a rolling basis.
The salary depends on experience. In addition to a competitive salary, AFC also offers generous benefits.
AFC is an affirmative action employer that actively seeks to recruit and retain a diverse staff and especially encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, persons of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or gender expressions and persons of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. For more information on AFC, see www.advocatesforchildren.org.