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AFC in the News

04.03.2014 | WABC Eyewitness News | Although Tavian is back in school and working to make up for the time he lost, we're told he might still be on suspension had he not been represented by the not-for-profit Advocates for Children. "This is a case that unfortunately we see too often, where it's typical of a school culture where suspension is really the first option instead of the last resort," said attorney Bernard Dufresne. Read article

03.28.2014 | Salon | In the struggle to find space for both public and charter schools, District 75 schools have long been the first to get shuffled around, according to Advocates for Children, an organization that defends access to education for students with disabilities and other marginalized children facing discrimination. “Because they’ve been broken up into pieces, the DOE [New York City Department of Education] often hasn’t seen them as having a real claim on being part of an education community,” explained Kim Sweet, executive director at Advocates for Children. But, added AFC staff attorney Paulina Davis, “I think for the students who are in those programs, they very much consider that [location] to be their school. That’s their community.” Read article

03.21.2014 | New York Times | AFC Executive Director Kim Sweet responds to the charter school debate with a letter to the editor: "New York City’s charter schools educate only about 6 percent of the city’s students. Yet charter schools continue to dominate public debate about reform in education. It’s time to change the conversation to focus attention and resources on the other 94 percent — including the more than one million New York City children who still rely on traditional public schools to prepare them for college and the workplace. Let’s stop arguing about which schools are better and work together to educate New York’s most disadvantaged students." Read article

03.18.2014 | Gotham Gazette | AFC coordinates The Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma, which recently released a report examining the difficulties that high stakes standardized exit exams pose for many students and addressing the need for multiple pathways to graduation. This op-ed by Coalition member David Bloomfield encourages new avenues to high school graduation and references the report's recommendations. Read article

03.16.2014 | Newsday | "Districts face myriad challenges, especially given the budgetary constraints many districts are operating under," said Jennifer Pringle, project director for New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless students, an agency funded by the state Department of Education that trains school districts to address the needs of homeless students. Pringle said guidance counselors and social workers often are among the first positions cut when budgets get tight. "These staff provide critical social [and] emotional support to all students, including students experiencing homelessness," she said. The strain on school district resources compounds the traditional problems faced by homeless students, who experts say traditionally fare worse in academic assessments and have lower graduation rates. Read article

03.12.2014 | City Limits | The second goal, the promised transfer of all academic credits earned by youth in placement, has not been delivered, either. Attorneys at Advocates for Children say when teens are released from OCFS placement, New York City public high schools frequently reject their credits—and don’t want to re-enroll them, in violation of the law...Those lost credits represent hundreds of hours of hard work in difficult circumstances, by students often deeply discouraged with school. “It’s a huge deterrent,” says Dawn Yuster, director of Advocates for Children’s School Justice Project. “It’s tragic. They do all this work, spend all this time, but the credits may not count.” She adds: “A lot of times, community schools don’t want our kids. But they’ve served their time, they have a right to an education. At the end of the day, no school is supposed to turn away a kid.” Read article

03.06.2014 | Insideschools | Maggie Moroff, a lawyer for Advocates for Children who represents Caleb, says many schools no longer offer self-contained classes, either because they lack the resources or because they are confused about what the reform actually requires. “I think the case illustrates how complicated things can get under the special education reform — where schools are being asked to meet the needs of students who require more than some of the schools are prepared to provide." Read article

02.10.2014 | Jumpstart | I later met with Advocates for Children of New York, an education advocacy organization that had focused traditionally on K-12 education. We were concerned that there was no attorney in New York City focused on early childhood education, and we decided it was time to fill that gap. For the past five-and-a-half years, the Early Childhood Education Project at Advocates for Children has provided legal representation, outreach and training, and policy advocacy to strengthen access to high-quality early childhood education programs for low-income families.

It is heartbreaking to hear from families who cannot find preschool seats for their children. A grandparent explained to us that her older grandchild is involved in the juvenile justice system and she wanted desperately for her three-year-old grandchild to go to preschool to get him on a different life path, but all the programs she contacted had waitlists.

That’s why the Project advocates for increased investments in high-quality early childhood education programs, and we won’t stop until every child has the right to a preschool seat. Read article

02.03.2014 | DNA Info | "The issue with universal pre-kindergarten is that everyone thought it was a good idea for a long time but there was never the money," said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, which works to protect children from discrimination. "It's been frustrating over the years to know the need for UPK and to not to be able to come up with the funding." Read article

01.13.2014 | Capital New York | More than 90 influential arts and culture groups are pushing Mayor Bill de Blasio to stick to his promise of providing arts education to every public school child in the city. Some of the city's most powerful arts and education advocacy figures signed the statement, including Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children who served as a member of de Blasio's transition team. Read article