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01.15.2013 | Gotham Schools | Kim Sweet, the director of Advocates for Children of New York, which represents students with special needs, said she was disappointed but not surprised that Quinn did not mention special education once. “It doesn’t tend to be something that mayoral candidates jump into right out of the box,” she said, noting that Quinn has spoken out on behalf of students with disabilities in the past. But, Sweet said, “I was really happy about her emphasis on collaboration and coordination. I think we’ve had a system focused on competition and there’s a lot to be gained by an administration that focuses on bringing people together.” Read article

01.15.2013 | NY1 | By and large, education advocates and the teachers' union gave the speaker's proposals high marks... "I think if a new mayor comes into office that really wants to listen to parents and make them partners, I think you can do that without spending a lot of money," Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children said. Read article

01.15.2013 | New York Daily News | Maggie Moroff of Advocates for Children said she's worried about disabled students for whom public transportation won't work. "They don't have a solid plan for how they're going to deal with these more-complicated issues," she said. Read article

01.11.2013 | Staten Island Advance | Randi Levine, project director of the advocacy group Advocates for Children of New York, described the typical scenario in which the mayor proposes cuts to school programs, which galvanizes parents, teachers and officials to mobilize, whereupon much of the funding is restored. “There was a proposal to cut $170 million from child care and after-school programs [last year],” Ms. Levine said. “That proposal would have cut 47,000 children from after-school and child care programs.” She stressed the need for the city to identify a dedicated funding stream for the programs. Read article

01.08.2013 | New York Post | "I felt very fortunate in the educational opportunities I got," says Matthew Lenaghan, the son of two college professors. Graduating from Yale, he wanted to do something “meaningful” — so he joined Teach for America and went to teach ninth-grade social studies in a poor Houston neighborhood. He stayed for three years (TFA only requires a two-year commitment), then left for law school at NYU. Today, he’s the deputy director of Advocates for Children of New York, which helps ensure that at-risk kids get the education that they deserve. Read article

12.18.2012 | Insideschools.org | All 5th graders will turn in applications for middle school this Friday, Dec. 21. That includes students with special education needs who will fill out the same application as other children. There is often some confusion about the process, even after the roll-out of the special education reform this year. Now all schools are expected to accept students with special needs, which wasn't the case in the past. Parents say that outreach was poor at some schools last year, with special needs students unaware that they could apply. To help families of children with special needs better understand their rights when applying to middle school, Advocates for Children put together a list of recommendations and tips.  Read article

12.14.2012 | Public News Service | "Punish the crooks, not the kids." That's the rallying cry of parents and advocates worried about New York's preschool special education programs that are under an investigative microscope. The state comptroller is pursuing operators of special education providers who are accused of wasting, misspending or pocketing money. Advocates of preschool special education say finding fraud is fine. But, Kim Sweet, executive director of the group Advocates for Children of New York, says some new and proposed changes in the wake of the investigations could hinder the funding for services. "We are concerned about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The opportunity to reach children when they're three and four is really very fleeting and if we squander it we're not going to be able to get it back."  Read article

12.13.2012 | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle | Education advocates and parents implored the state Thursday to expand and reform its policies for preschool special-education programs. Several school groups, including the Alliance for Quality Education and Advocates for Children of New York, opposed the state’s decision in November to suspend approval of new special-education service providers or the expansion of existing programs. The state Education Department plans to revise criteria for approving such programs after various instances of fraud were uncovered in recent audits. It is unclear how long the review will take. “The state should punish crooks and should revisit some of its funding practices, but should not make young children with delayed development pay lifelong consequences for the actions of a small group of adults,” according to the groups’ recommendations, which were unveiled Thursday at a news conference near the state Capitol. Read article

12.13.2012 | Wall Street Journal | Some education advocates in New York are out with recommendations to protect preschool special education programs. The groups Advocates for Children of New York and the Alliance for Quality Education are worried that recent reports of costly fraud by some providers could jeopardize the programs. At a news conference in Albany Thursday, they encouraged the state to vigorously audit programs and improve financing procedures. Read article

12.06.2012 | Insideschools.org | Although this change does not exactly make kindergarten mandatory for all five-year-olds, advocates say it sends a message to schools that they can no longer refuse to admit five-year-olds. "We have seen families turned away from schools with the explanation that kindergarten is not mandatory," said Randi Levine, project director for early childhood education at Advocates for Children. "Although children currently have the right to attend to attend kindergarten this change would make it very clear that schools are required to serve kindergarten students and are not permitted to turn them away." Read article