The New York Foundation looks to connect its grantees and other nonprofit organizations in New York City with resources useful in achieving our common goals. With our Knowledge Center we collect reports, case studies, policy briefs, and other knowledge assets produced by New York Foundation grantees and affiliated organizations. While some of these works were funded by the Foundation, our goal in providing this collection is to put a spotlight on the contributions that Foundation grantees have made to social issue analysis and problem solving.
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Universal School Lunch in NYC Year One: Insights from High School Cafeterias

March 20, 2019

Community Food Advocates has just completed a new report of the first year of the Universal School Lunch program, with a deep dive into how the program has worked in high schools - where the students have been the hardest to reach. We visited high schools in all five boroughs, totaling 132 high schools in 54 buildings. We met with school administrators, cafeteria staff and students. Our visits to high schools helped us identify practices that can promote the program and encourage students to eat school lunch. These findings form the basis of our recommendations to the Chancellor, the Office of Food and Nutrition Services and school administrators.We are pleased to report that high school students' participation increased by 15.2% - with little public promotion of the program. And high schools with the new Food Court-style cafeteria redesign increased participation by 31%! That is why significantly expanding the number of schools with the cafeteria redesign model remains a high priority for the Lunch 4 Learning Campaign.

Young Adults’ Experiences of Violence and Dreams of Community-Led Solutions in Red Hook, Brooklyn

January 1, 2019

In the summer of 2017, the Real Rites Researchers - a group of Red Hook young adults - came together after being tired of witnessing violence, feeling ignored and harassed, and being ready to make a change. The Researchers grew up in Red Hook witnessing violence, disinvestment, and over-policing. After taking matters into their own hands, the Researchers launched a participatory study about violence and community-building for young adults in Red Hook. The research was conducted by, with, and for their community. This report details their findings and reveals young peoples' desire to be at the forefront of change in their own community. 

Swept Up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers

June 27, 2018

Swept up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers details the Trump administration's using supposed-gang enforcement to carry out punitive immigration policies. Through an extensive field study, the report shows how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with other federal agencies and law enforcement, uses arbitrary methods to profile immigrant youth of color to allege gang affiliation. The report was written in collaboration with the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and the Immigrant and Non-Citizen Rights Clinic (INRC) at the CUNY School of Law.

Young People’s Vision for Safe, Supportive, and Inclusive Schools

October 1, 2017

This policy brief provides a blueprint for safe and supportive schools. The young people who navigate interpersonal conflict in schools and experience harm due to harsh policing and disciplinary policies, are uniquely situated to lead the dialogue about developing truly safe and just learning environments. This report highlights priorities from the Young People's School Justice Agenda – the vision for safe, supportive, and inclusive schools developed by youth leaders organizing to transform their schools and communities. Supportive approaches to improving school climate are proven to be more effective at helping students address the root causes of conflict and reducing school infractions, thus actually creating safer schools than punitive policies such as suspensions and policing.When young people close their eyes and think about what they need when they are feeling bullied, need to solve conflict, or want their learning environments to be inclusive, they do not imagine metal detectors and police officers. They imagine safe spaces where they can receive support from staff trained in social and emotional development. When schools allow students to lead efforts to transform school culture and climate, they develop fairness committees, expand peer mediation, build restorative justice teams, and create safe spaces where peers who feel isolated or bullied can build strong and trusting relationships. Students are changing the paradigm of discipline and punishment and advocating for schools to respond to the needs of all students, but especially the most vulnerable students, by pulling every student into systems of support and refusing to expand practices that treat them as disposable.

The $746 Million A Year School-to-Prison Pipeline: The Ineffective, Discriminatory, and Costly Process of Criminalizing New York City Students

April 20, 2017

This report, released by the Center for Popular Democracy and Urban Youth Collaborative, reveals the staggering yearly economic impact of the school-to-prison pipeline in New York City, $746.8 million. In addition, it presents a bold "Young People's School Justice Agenda," which calls on the City to divest from over-policing young people, and invest in supportive programs and opportunities for students to thrive. New evidence of the astronomical fiscal and social costs of New York's school-to-prison pipeline demand urgent action by policymakers. The young people who are most at risk of harm due to harsh policing and disciplinary policies are uniquely situated to lead the dialogue about developing truly safe and equitable learning environments. This report highlights the vision for safe, supportive, and inclusive schools developed by these youth leaders.

Support Not Punish

February 24, 2016

This is a report about young people's experiences with the juvenile justice system. Yet unlike so many other reports, this one was conceptualized, designed, researched and written by young people who themselves have experienced the cruelty and horror of an inhumane, antiquated, and unjust system that throughout its history has done far more harm than good. While several adult staff members offered support, training, and guidance to the youth research team, young people led the entire project from top to bottom.

Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence

December 16, 2014

Attention is increasingly being paid to the disparities young men of color face in our society, including their disproportionate involvement in the criminal justice system as those responsible for crime. Little recognition, however, is given to the fact that young men of color are also disproportionately victims of crime and violence. This issue brief aims to raise awareness of this large but often overlooked group of victims, and help foster efforts -- both local and nationwide -- to provide them with the compassionate support and services they need and deserve.

Death By A Thousand Cuts: Racism, School Closures, and Public School Sabotage

May 13, 2014

The members of Journey for Justice, are comprised of thousands of youth, parents, and other concerned citizens from communities of color across the United States. They wrote this report because they need the American people to know that the public education systems in our communities are dying. More accurately, they are being killed by an alliance of misguided, paternalistic "reformers," education profiteers, and those who seek to dismantle the institution of public education. Some are being killed quickly; others are still in the early stages. But it is, at this point, quite clear that there will soon be little to nothing left of our public school systems -- and many more like ours -- unless current trends are disrupted.

New York City South Asian Youth: Critical Mass, Urgent Needs

December 16, 2013

There are now more than 100,000 South Asian youth in New York City. This milestone for the community was reached during the last decade and is confirmed by the 2010 Census. Today, more than 5% of the city's youth (defined as residents under the age of 20) are South Asian. Poverty is a major obstacle on their path to achievement. More than one-quarter of South Asian youth (26%) live in households with incomes lower than the federal poverty level (FPL). Over half of South Asian youth live in families where income is below 200% of the FPL. In New York City, where the cost of living is much higher than the national average, this means real hardship. Besides poverty, South Asian youth face additional hurdles that are particular to their experience in New York City today. Many parents of South Asian youth confront language barriers, cultural obstacles and a lack of familiarity with the American school system. The schools themselves often lack cultural competence when it comes to appreciating the needs of South Asian youth and interacting constructively with their families. And both in school and in the broader community, the post-9/11 environment continues to exhibit suspicion, bias, and discrimination. The bullying of South Asian youth, Muslim youth, and youth who wear turbans and hijabs is a persistent issue. This discourages many youth, lowers their engagement with school and other programs, and can lead to detrimental internalized behaviors.This report by South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!) presents the new demographics of South Asian youth in New York City, details the issues they face, and offers an agenda for action. Drawing on 17 years of experience providing youth-development services to the city's South Asian community, SAYA! Intends this report to inform policymakers, school officials, and all New Yorkers about the city's growing South Asian youth population, the unique pressures they face, and the ways to overcome these obstacles to opportunity. In our view, school leaders, city officials, community organizations, and South Asian families can take immediate steps that will improve youth college and career readiness and benefit the community as a whole. These steps include:Improving parental engagement in schools bydeveloping a new one-on-one parent advocacy programenhancing translation and interpretation support for parentsscaling up community organization resources for parental educationMaking schools a safe and welcoming space for South Asian youth byimproving school staff cultural competenceimproving school staff diversity and language proficiencyenhancing curriculum focused on South Asian youthcreating a safe, bullying-free space for South Asian youthPreventing South Asian youth from falling through the cracks byensuring availability of preparation tools, particularly for new immigrant youthenhancing the college readiness of public school studentsenhancing local community-based organization support for South Asian youthThese steps make up a practical, feasible agenda to ensure that New York City's South Asian youth have the tools necessary to succeed in a knowledge- and skills-based economy and avoid falling into a cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Get Us To College: Proven Strategies for Helping NYC students Navigate the College Process

October 22, 2013

The Urban Youth Collaborative strives for social and economic justice throughout our communities -- overcoming obstacles to make sure youth voices are heard and youth empowerment is emphasized. They are committed to building a strong youth voice, a voice that can ensure high schools prepare students to go to college, earn a living wage, and actively participate in our democracy. In the subsequent pages is a set of proposals to ensure that high schools serving low-income youth of color meet the new Department of Education standards for college readiness. We offer multiple ways to pursue each goal, recommend that combinations of the aspects of models we present be considered.The report is organized to share what we know about why items on our platform are important and to give information to help fellow students, education advocates, and the NYC DOE work toward implementing changes.

Essential Voices, Part II: Engaging Students and Parents in the Implementation of a New Teacher Evaluation System

October 17, 2013

In June 2013, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) announced a new teacher evaluation system for New York City, which is being enacted citywide in the 2013-14 school year. The implementation of a new system for evaluating the 75,000 teachers who work in New York City's public schools is a massive undertaking -- one that will change how principals use their time, how teachers direct their efforts in the classroom, and, ultimately, how students experience school. State Education Commissioner John King has said, "These evaluation plans will help principals and teachers improve their practice, and that in turn will help students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. That's our goal in everything we do."As the intended beneficiaries of this major reform effort, students and their families have an enormous stake in its success. This paper makes the case that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) must include them in the policy implementation process.Students and parents should have the opportunity to actively contribute to the policy changes that affect their lives; reforms are more likely to be successful, sustainable, and responsive to local needs when students and families are engaged as partners and supportive of such efforts. As theNational Parent Teacher Association (PTA) notes, "Because parents, teachers, students, and the general public are affected by school policy, it is appropriate that they participate in its determination. We believe that such sharing of responsibility will result in greater responsiveness to student and societal needs and therefore improve the quality of educational opportunity."The voices of actual New York City public school parents and students echo this desire for participation with respect to teacher evaluation policy. One New York City high school student told us, "Since the students are the ones subjected to changes in the system (as well as the teachers) they should be allowed to have a say in what they think will benefit/hurt them. They should be able to say what they think makes their teachers effective/ineffective, and what can be done to fix any problems with the new policy."Similarly, Diana M., the parent of an eleventh grader in Queens, affirmed, "We have a voice, we have many concerns and as parents should be included in these new policies that are taking place....Students as well parents have ideas and we can change the school system for the better [for] students, the DOE and the parents alike....The change starts with all three parties, parent, student and educator!"With this paper, we are calling on the DOE to include students and parents when putting the new evaluation system into practice by establishing a stakeholder advisory group to provide feedback throughout the implementation process and ensure open discussion and sharing of responsibility take place. We begin by setting forth the arguments for including parents and students in the implementation of the new policies and conclude by providing examples of structures established for this purpose in other cities and states.

The Struggle Report: Findings and Recommendations by NYC Youth for New York Job Development Programs

May 31, 2013

To better understand the challenges and opportunities all youth face in finding employment, FUREEous Youth and the Community Development Project (CDP) at the Urban Justice Center developed a participatory action research project. Using surveys, a focus group, and secondary data, this research shows that youth encounter many challenges when looking for jobs. Furthermore, the job development programs that exist to serve youth in gaining employment, while generally providing a positive experience, are not sufficient to meet the high demand and need to be retooled to better serve the youth of New York City.

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