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01.10.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | The state created the CDOS credential in 2013 as a way to signal students’ readiness for entry-level employment. But the credential is not accepted in place of a diploma, keeping students from attending college, entering the military or finding a job in most cases, advocates said. “The CDOS commencement credential is in many ways a road to nowhere,” said Abja Midha, a project director at Advocates for Children who works to establish alternative pathways to graduation for students with disabilities. “Panera Bread asks if you have a high school diploma. What are the options for these kids?” Allowing both project-based assessments and the CDOS credential could help more students with disabilities earn a diploma. In 2014, only 53 percent of students with disabilities graduated on time statewide. Read article

12.24.2015 | NBC 4 New York | Jennifer Pringle, who works with the group Advocates for Children, said the new bus routes will make a huge impact. “I can’t emphasize enough what a game changer this is for so many families,” Pringle said. View segment

12.21.2015 | New York Post | The Manhattan US Attorney fired off a letter to the Education Department’s general counsel Monday, calling out the city’s school system for still failing — some 25 years after passage of the American With Disabilities Act — to make most elementary school buildings fully accessible to disabled children. Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, said the access-problem for the disabled at the city’s elementary schools has been around for too long. “It’s exciting to see the US Attorney take action,” Sweet said. “It’s been an issue for a long time.” Read article

12.21.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | New York City provides “inexcusable” accommodations for its young students with disabilities and has failed to address the problem for years, according to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation released Monday. “The language in this is really sharp,” said Maggie Moroff, the special education policy coordinator at the nonprofit Advocates for Children. “They’re not messing around at all.” The letter itself won’t immediately change facilities for students, Moroff said, but it provides validation to many advocates, families and lawyers who have been concerned about this problem for years. “The fact that the DOJ is going to be looking at New York City and requiring New York City to answer to it is pretty tremendous,” Moroff said. Read article

11.30.2015 | Politico New York | A group of dozens of pre-K providers and advocacy organizations sent de Blasio a letter last week asking him to address the pay disparity. "We urge you to take immediate action to achieve salary parity for the early childhood workforce," their letter reads. "Disparities between similarly qualified teachers in EarlyLearn [day care] and pre-K programs have grown." The coalition includes many of de Blasio's closest allies in the early education world, raising the stakes for the mayor — among them the Bank Street College of Education, the special education advocacy group Advocates for Children, the Children's Aid Society and large pre-K providers including the Henry Street Settlement and United Neighborhood Houses. Read article

11.24.2015 | NBC 4 New York | Under federal law, children living in shelters and temporary housing are entitled to free transportation due to their vulnerable state. But in many cases in New York City, the free transportation they get is not a big yellow school bus, but a small yellow MetroCard for long, exhausting subway trips...Kim Sweet of the nonprofit Advocates for Children said she sees too many families who have to battle for busing. "So if the difference between a MetroCard and a bus is being able to get a child to school in the morning, then the city needs to really provide busing where it’s needed," she said. "There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a family that is working so hard to sustain their child’s education. They are climbing up such a mountain."

11.18.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | The efforts are propelled by research that suggests that many students with disabilities benefit from mixed-ability classes starting at an early age. “Whenever possible, a preschooler should learn alongside typically developing peers,” said Randi Levine, early childhood education project director at Advocates for Children, a group that provides free legal services for students. “The expansion of pre-K in New York State and New York City provides an opportunity to do that, but it’s only possible with appropriate resources and training.” Read article

11.13.2015 | New York Times | Homeless advocates say the city is not considering the impact on the children being placed in such far-flung accommodations. Already facing family and financial instability, these children often miss school and spend more time asleep because of the grueling commutes confronting them...Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, said the city was moving in the right direction by addressing such issues. But she questioned why the city had placed families in the Staten Island hotels “as opposed to singles or couples without children.” Read article

11.13.2015 | Chalkbeat New York | Meanwhile, the lack of any reports for these schools creates challenges for families who want to monitor how their children’s schools are performing, or who are looking to move a child to a different school. That is especially true for transfer schools, since they each have different admissions criteria. And to make matters more complicated, the city has not published an updated directory for those schools as it has for traditional high schools. “When a student has to find a transfer school, it’s already a difficult process,” said Ashley Grant, a staff attorney at Advocates for Children. “So to not have all that information in one place is extremely challenging.” Read article

10.30.2015 | WNYC SchoolBook | Although student suspensions were down overall, the proportion of black and Latino students suspended remained 87 percent, the same as the previous year. These racial groups combined made up 68 percent of the total student population last school year. Students with disabilities also are suspended at disproportionately higher rates: last year they made up 38 percent of suspended students, but accounted for just under 20 percent of the student population. "Our hope was that by reducing suspensions for insubordination we could reduce the racial disparities, and also the disparities for kids who have disabilities," said Kim Sweet, executive director of the non-profit group Advocates for Children. "Apparently there's still a lot more work to be done in that area." Read article