Juliet Eisenstein

  • Hosted by Advocates for Children of New York
  • Sponsored by Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, Morgan Stanley
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Juliet will provide direct legal representation, community outreach, and policy advocacy on behalf of students with disabilities to close high school graduation gaps, improve access to work-based learning opportunities, and increase college and career readiness.

Only 43% of New York City’s over 200,000 students with disabilities graduate high school in 4 years, compared with 77% of their peers. New York State’s gap between graduation for students with disabilities and their peers is the 6th widest in the country. State and federal laws require schools to create plans and provide programming that ensure students with disabilities are college and career ready, but school districts do not effectively enforce these laws. A new state graduation regulation provides a means towards addressing these barriers, by allowing students to participate in work-based learning programs (such as vocational training and internships) to fulfill part of their diploma requirements. Such programs are shown to increase not only high school graduation rates, but also college enrollment and graduation rates. However, most work-based learning programs in NYC are not structured to support students with special education needs. Legal advocacy is therefore necessary to both protect the rights of students with disabilities and expand access to work-based learning opportunities, in order to increase high school graduation rates and ensure college and career readiness.

Juliet has seen firsthand how important the disability community has been for her sister who has special needs. She wants to work to eliminate these disparities and create a public education system where the college and career readiness preparation her sister received are the rule rather than the exception.

Fellowship Plans

Juliet will provide advice and case representation for students with disabilities facing issues graduating from and transitioning out of high school, including at impartial hearings and IEP meetings. She will also develop know-your-rights training materials for high school students with disabilities. Juliet plans to participate in coalitions addressing diploma requirements, pathways to graduation, and work-based learning for students with disabilities and research new legal remedies, including vocational skills assessment and vocational training programs.

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Sponsor: Friends and Family of Philip M. Stern

Tovah Pentelovitch

Host: Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Texas Access to Justice Foundation

Teresita Ramos

Host: Disability Law Center

Sponsor: Equal Justice Works Text-to-Give