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Micaela is a dual-language learner who is on the autism spectrum and needed an appropriate school placement for kindergarten.

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AFC in the News

11.20.2013 | Capital New York | Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced a 60-person transition team on Wednesday afternoon, which includes two clear allies on education. Zakiyah Ansari and Kim Sweet are both champions of public schools, who have criticized some of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's education policies...Sweet is the Executive Director of Advocates for Children (A.F.C.), which focuses on high-risk students, and she told Capital shortly after Election Day that de Blasio "will have the opportunity to show that mayoral control can go hand in hand with inclusiveness and respect for parents, students and communities." Read article

11.20.2013 | NY1 | Bill de Blasio has said he's going to make some big changes to the school system, but there's been a lot of debate over how big the changes will actually be. On Wednesday at a visit to the Talking Transition tent in SoHo, the mayor-elect signaled that those changes could be pretty big. The members of his transition committee involved in education include some of the current administration's staunchest critics, including Zakiyah Ansari of the Alliance for Quality Education....Other education leaders include Kim Sweet, head of Advocates for Children, also a frequent critic of the current administration. “We're at an exciting point right now in the city because we are about to have a new mayor,” said Sweet in September. Read article

11.19.2013 | New York Daily News | Education advocates said they hoped incoming mayor Bill de Blasio would examine school discipline practices and initiatives like Bronx School Justice in his new administration. “An interagency and community response is needed to address this,” said Bernard Dufresne, staff attorney for Advocates for Children. Read article

11.14.2013 | Gotham Schools | Tougher graduation standards and the elimination of the local diploma for the majority of students have left some without a high school diploma because they scored just a few points too low on one Regents exam. Abja Midha, project director for the nonprofit Advocates for Children, said the full impact of the rule change would not become clear for another year or so, when some students who narrowly missed the score cutoff stop trying to earn their diplomas and turn instead to GED classes or work — a risky route that could limit college choices and future wages. The Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma, which includes AFC, has called on the state to add non-test assessments — such as final projects or portfolios — as graduation options. It also urged the state to expand the number of tests and range of scores subject to appeal, and better publicize that process. Read article

11.07.2013 | NY1 | A state investigation has revealed that the city's Department of Education isn't doing enough to help special needs students with behavioral problems. The state Department of Education says that the city "systemically violated the law by failing to provide crucial behavioral supports for students with disabilities." Advocates say that city schools are not following required procedures to identify causes of the challenging behavior or provide appropriate supports to prevent the behavior from occurring, and the state agrees. "The DOE really needs to work harder to get these schools using these type of methods so that they can prevent problem behavior before it occurs, and when it does occur, so they can manage it appropriately," said Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

11.07.2013 | Capital New York | The Department of Education systemically violated the law by not providing necessary supports for students with disabilities, according to a ruling by the state education department on Thursday. The New York State Education Department (N.Y.S.E.D.) ruled that the D.O.E. has failed to ensure that students with disabilities are properly evaluated and provided with support for behavioral issues. The N.Y.S.E.D. ruling is an affirmation of a complaint filed by Advocates for Children (A.F.C.), which supports high-risk students, earlier this year. "We hope this decision will motivate the D.O.E. to finally do the right thing for New York City students," Kim Sweet, the Executive Director of A.F.C., said in a statement. Read article

11.06.2013 | Capital New York | Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children, which focuses on high-risk students, told Capital she's eager to work with the de Blasio administration. "Mayor de Blasio will have the opportunity to show that mayoral control can go hand in hand with inclusiveness and respect for parents, students and communities," she said. Read article

11.04.2013 | NY1 | According to NY1's analysis of Department of Education data, there were at least 40 schools where the majority of suspensions last year went to students with diagnosed disabilities. "I think the disproportionality is a huge cause to concern, and my hope would be that it's a red flag to the Department of Education to get into these schools and really figure out what's going on," said Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article

10.31.2013 | Capital New York | A group of public school advocates are calling on the Department of Education to include parents and students in the implementation of a new teacher evaluation system. In a report released on Thursday, Advocates for Children (AFC) requested that the department establish a new "stakeholder advisory group," consisting of students and parents, to advise the DOE on the evaluation rollout. The AFC report argues that students and parents were excluded from negotiations between the DOE, United Federation of Teachers, and state Board of Regents about the teacher evaluation system. Read article

10.28.2013 | Gotham Schools | The city’s special education reforms have moved thousands of students out of specialized classes citywide, according to data shared by Department of Education officials on Friday. But city officials and special education advocates alike said it remained too soon to tell whether the systemwide changes have been good for students.

Many advocates for students with disabilities testified that the data doesn’t give a full enough picture of the impact of the reforms. Special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children Maggie Moroff, who has been requesting more data about the reforms for years, said crucial questions were left unanswered. “It doesn’t say what the students’ experience is like. We don’t know if they moved them appropriately,” she said. Read article