Education has been at the forefront of the Public Service Project’s (PSP) work since its inception. Although the challenges of providing the “sound basic education” guaranteed to all New Yorkers by the state’s constitution are legion, it is a goal of the PSP to make this individual right a reality, regardless of income or address. We have done so for hundreds of families.
Given the variety of the challenges, our Schools & Education program rests on multiple platforms. At the most basic, we collaborate (most often with our long-time partners in this work, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest) to represent families of children with disabilities who have been denied their right to a full and fair public education. In addition to helping individuals, we have joined in litigation aimed at making systemic change. And because the system itself is overwhelmed, we also work outside it by providing pro bono counsel to energetic nonprofits providing the kind of creative support and services so many public school children are missing.
The Go Project
Over 300 children from 30 public elementary schools in Lower Manhattan are served by The Go Project. Go offers a dynamic, integrated whole-child approach to learning and growing for under-resourced youngsters, particularly those with learning and life challenges. Staffed by educators, social workers and volunteers, Go offers three programs: Go Summer, Go School and Go Families. We have provided general counsel to Go as an entity, trained Go staff and board members on evolving legal principles, served on the Go board of directors, and co-founded a program to teach Go parents how to become advocates not only for themselves but for other families in the community.
Rocking the Boat
Rocking the Boat (RTB) is a pioneering nonprofit in the South Bronx. The core of RTB’s programming is the ancient craft of wooden boatbuilding. This hands-on approach to community and youth outreach enables RTB to impart academic and social life skills to urban youth, such as teamwork and discipline. RTB offers on-water science education, job skills and advocacy programs, apprenticeships and a community rowing program. We have been general counsel since 2001, providing thousands of hours of legal services from every practice group in the New York office.