Education Rights For Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed public school education in NYC. Schools have been working to make safe environments for their students but unexpected changes and delays have left parents and caregivers struggling to figure out what school looks like for their children this year.

As a part of CUP’s work to help meet the urgent needs of our partners during the pandemic, we developed a resource with Brooklyn Defender Services (BDS) to help parents understand their rights around their child’s education during the 2020-2021 school year. The guide includes rights that parents and children have around accessing special education services, opting into in-person or remote learning, accessing electronic devices, and getting free childcare support.

The visuals for this project were adapted from a collaboration with BDS and designer Manuel Miranda called What You Need to Know About ACS.

Resources & Links

Brooklyn Defender Services provides high quality legal representation and related services to people who cannot afford to retain an attorney.

Funding Support

Support for this project was provided by the Brooklyn Community Foundation.

Special Thanks

Manuel Miranda, Christine Gaspar, Siyona Ravi, Frampton Tolbert



  • Clair Beltran
  • Elijah Bobo
  • Yasmin Safdié
    • Brooklyn Defender Services
    • Anna Arkin-Gallagher
    • Daniel Ball
    • Meghan Downes
    • Gabriel Freiman
    • Anya Mukarji-Connolly
    • Jessica Nietsche


      As the 2020 School Year Begins, Know Your Rights and Get Involved
      • Rise Magazine
      • October 14, 2020

      As we begin a new school year amidst the ongoing pandemic, equity issues continue to be exacerbated by the pandemic. You may still lack the equipment needed for remote learning or consistent available WIFI, or may be dealing with continuous changes to plans.

      Below, you will find more information about your rights and support available and how you can advocate to protect families and for educational equity. [See] Resources for NYC Parents from Brooklyn Defender Services and The Center for Urban Pedagogy, [including] knowing your rights about your child’s education during the 2020-21 school year [and] information for parents dealing with ACS during COVID.

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      As Cuomo Shutters Schools in COVID Flare Zones, Ground Rules Lag for Child Welfare Reports During Remote Learning
      • The City
      • October 05, 2020

      Before the start of the current school year, multiple groups had urged the state Office of Children and Family Services to declare that a child’s failure to participate in remote learning should not be enough to justify an investigation. “Black and brown families are still going to be negatively impacted, especially in The Bronx where some of our Wi-Fi issues are worse,” said Baker-Burr…Last week, the groups that signed the letter to the state released new “know your rights” pamphlets help families navigate remote learning, and offer advice on what to do if ACS is called. 

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