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AFC in the News

11.29.2012 | Gotham Schools | A+NYC, a new coalition formed earlier this year to shape policy in time for the 2013 mayoral election, launched an online “policy hub” today that includes research briefs on 20 education issues that the group wants to be the focus of debates in months to come. 

The special education brief, authored by staff at Advocates for Children, found research that supports the city’s special education reforms to integrate special needs students into general education classroom settings. But it also suggested that the city was still not doing enough to support students with Individualized Education Plans.  Read article

 11.28.2012 | Timesunion.com| AFC's Randi Levine illustrates, in this published letter to the editor, that although there is a need for the state to work vigorously to identify and punish anyone who is stealing from the preschool special education program, the state must not lose sight of the enormous benefits of this program for New York's young children. By intervening early, when brains have the most elasticity, preschool special education services help young children with developmental delays prepare for school, reducing long-term costs. Read article

11.08.2012 | Insideschools.org | "A lot of schools are getting an overflow of kids," said Jennifer Pringle, director of NYS TEACHS, which runs a statewide hotline for schools and families about the educational rights of homeless children. And as some shelters close and families are relocated to other living situations, she said, "You’re looking at kids who are going to transition through several schools."

Elementary and middle school students may enroll directly at the neighborhood schools closest to where they are staying and high school students should go to an enrollment center to enroll in a school closer to where they are living.

Displaced students also have the right to keep attending school in their home neighborhoods, said Pringle. "You can always keep your kids in the same school," she said. "Being connected to the same teachers and school can be supportive when everything else is chaotic in their lives. But the biggest issue for parents is transportation. Sometimes it's not a viable option for them -- parents can take four to six hours a day to get their children to school."

"There are so many unanswered questions – the city has yet to articulate what its longterm strategy is going to be for these families," Pringle said.  Read article

10.25.2012 | SchoolBook | A City Council hearing on the nitty-gritty issue of how the Education Department organizes its 1,750 schools erupted into accusations that the Bloomberg administration is withholding information that could help parents navigate the immense bureaucracy...The group Advocates for Children of New York submitted testimony saying networks create further confusion for parents when they’re looking for help. Read article

10.22.2012 | New York Daily News | Advocates for special education said that two years of test scores wouldn’t show anything definitively but that the Department of Education has failed to provide data on whether the program works or not. “DOE has been very stingy with the data,” said Advocates for Children executive director Kim Sweet. Sweet and other advocates have called on the city to release data on attendance and suspensions as well as details on what has worked during the reforms — and what has not. Read article

10.12.2012 | WABC-TV News | AFC client Ashton McKenzie was featured on WABC News. Ashton, who immigrated to New York from Jamaica in 2002, is banned from playing football at Dewitt Clinton High School because he aged-out of eligibility due to being unfairly held back in third grade.

10.02.2012 | Gotham Schools | Volunteer Melodie Ampuero, a project associate at Advocates for Children...praised the program and thought it could be expanded. She said she worried that the one-time service wasn’t enough. Volunteers were not instructed to follow up with the students they met to make sure the students actually applied to schools and made all of their deadlines. “Applications aren’t due until December and a lot can happen between now and then,” said Ampuero. “A lot of [the students in foster care] can fall through the cracks and if no one is there to follow up on them, then we have no idea of knowing if they still need assistance.” Read article

9.27.2012 | Gotham Schools | The hearing offered a rare view into ELL issues. Elsa Cruz Pearson, a staff attorney for Advocates for Children of New York, said the main way advocates get data is through an annual report that the Office of English Language Learners submits to the state. But the city was supposed to have submitted a report in the spring, and it so far hasn’t done that, she said.  Read article

9.25.2012 | Insideschools.org | The reform has had the opposite effect in some schools, according to Maggie Moroff, special education coordinator at Advocates for Children, with neighborhood schools creating self-contained special education classes for just a few students. "Those classes aren't fully populated," says Moroff, and since children must stay in their zones, there is no one else to fill those seats.  Read article

9.24.2012 | DNAinfo.com | "We're hearing from too many families that their children's preschool services were not in place at the beginning of the school year," said Randi Levine, a lawyer with Advocates for Children, which supports disadvantaged children in New York City... Read article