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AFC in the News

6.5.2012 | New York Times | “It is great that the DOE is starting to think of discipline in a more holistic way," said Avni Bhatia, a staff attorney for Advocates of Children of New York.  But because there are no requirements for schools to use these new practices  we're concerned that schools that have long relied on punitive policies will continue to do so."   Read article

6.1.2012 | New York Daily News | “The practice of retaining students year after year without investing in improving their education has been problematic, so it’s good to see some steps in the right direction,” said Advocates for Children executive director Kim Sweet. Read article

6.1.2012 | Gotham Schools | Critics of the social promotion ban have said they have seen some students stuck in a grade, unable to advance because of the state tests. Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, said today that those students often become discouraged and are unlikely to advance. “We ended up seeing students held back repeatedly that weren’t really getting extra help,” she said. Read article

5.29.2012 | WABC-TV Print Version | " We're asking the state to keep the local diploma as an option until they put into place new pathways to graduation," Gisela Alvarez, senior project director, said. Alvarez and the not-for-profit Advocates for Children of New York have joined a coalition, pushing for the state legislation that would extend the deadline for ending the local diploma...read more

5.29.2012 | WABC-TV | " We're asking the state to keep the local diploma as an option until they put into place new pathways to graduation," Gisela Alvarez, senior project director, said. Alvarez and the not-for-profit Advocates for Children of New York have joined a coalition, pushing for the state legislation that would extend the deadline for ending the local diploma.

5.23.2012 | Gotham Schools | "If you are going to raise standards, you also have to raise the quality of institutions,” said Christian Villenas, policy analyst for Advocates for Children. As part of the Coalition for Multiple Pathways to Graduation, Advocates for Children is circulating a petition to postpone the elimination of the local diploma. The organization has been a leader in lobbying the state to postpone the elimination until other pathways to graduation are in place.

Earlier this year, the state extended the local diploma for special education students. But this, too, poses a problem for advocates. “By keeping the local diploma for students with just disabilities, in essence you’re creating a second class of students,” Villenas said. Read article

5.21.2012 | New York World | New York's new Close to Home initiative will allow court-involved youth to remain in the NYC public school system while incarcerated, and on the Department of Education’s credit system. The results remain to be seen, but Christopher Tan, director of Advocates for Children’s Juvenile Justice Project, says he’s optimistic about their chances for success. “We still have to make sure that it’s done appropriately and that students are getting the right services while they’re there,” he said. “It has potential to be better for a lot of students, and early signs so far are promising.” Read article

5.21.2012 | The New York Times | As Kim Sweet, executive director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children of New York, said: “We see cases of schools violating I.E.P.’s all the time. Our phones ring off the hook.” Read article

5.18.2012 | Gotham Schools | “Their stated goal is not about inclusion, but it is about educating more and more students with disabilities in community schools,” Maggie Moroff, coordinator of the ARISE Coalition of special education advocacy groups, said about the Department of Education. “The way it’s playing out, it looks like there will be less self-contained [classes] and more inclusion for greater access to the academic curriculum.”

Moroff said inclusion can’t succeed unless schools have extra resources, administrative support, and “continuing, ongoing, at-the-elbow professional development.” But she said it is worthy work. “Life is inclusive,” she said. “Or should be.” Read article

5.09.2012 | New York Daily News | “When children are taking a test and come upon a badly worded question, it can ... affect their performance on the rest of the test,” said Advocates for Children executive director Kim Sweet. Read article