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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

2.21.2012 | Insideschools.org | "A reform like this requires a lot of planning," said Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children. "We would like to see the DOE do more to assure parents that when they drop off their five-year-olds at school in September, the school will be ready for them."… Read article

2.14.2012 | The Wall Street Journal | The independent Advocates for Children of New York are trying to insert provisions that recognize the particular challenges of special education teachers, who must help students with emotional and physical disabilities, and others who are teaching immigrant students to learn English along with their lessons.

"A teacher working with a student with disabilities has to contend with overall classroom goals, but also with the individualized goal of students," said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, which is funded by independent foundations and isn't connected to teacher unions. "In addition to content and curriculum, students may be working with social and emotional issues, many may have physical issues and are working at a different level, although the same content, as other classes. A teacher has to differentiate instruction to a whole different level."

The unintended consequence of a general evaluation system that doesn't make allowances for these instances risks the firing of hard-to-keep teachers in special education, more disabled students turned to less rigorous alternative assessments, and a shortage of teachers entering the difficult field, said Gisela Alvarez, senior project manager at the organization that serves low-income students, mostly in New York City. … Read article

2.13.2012 | DNA Info | “They’re saying to schools: ‘Take in a bunch of kids who you didn’t take in before — and do it right,’” said Maggie Moroff, coordinator of ARISE, a coalition of special education advocates and parents. Moroff said that while advocates "support the goals of the reform absolutely, we have worries about the implementation.”… Read article

2.01.2012 | GothamSchools | “What I’d really like to know is, what happened to all the other kids in the school when the closure was announced?” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. “These were much bigger schools.”… Read article

1.31.2012 | New York Times/School Book | The politicians joined representatives from Advocates for Children, Class Size Matters and New York Communities for Change in citing data finding many of the schools that are to be closed, or which are already in the process of phasing out, have disproportionately high percentages of students with special education needs, overage students and others considered at risk… Read article

1.18.2012 | Insideschools.org | "The data shows that all students do not come into the school system with an equal chance of accessing the most coveted programs," said Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children… Read article

1.11.2012 | NBC News New York | “No one is asking parents what they think," Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York told Gabe Pressman of NBC New York.  As for Cuomo, she said: “I don’t think he’s really delved into this issue. He doesn’t want to. He is not asking people down at the individual school level what they need or want. The proper education of teachers is of great importance and I believe parents know this to be true.... Read article

12.13.2011 | Insideschools.org | Advocates for Children urged the DOE to treat school communities "as real partners in developing solutions" rather than "legal hurdles that need to be managed."... Read article

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11.18.2011 | Gotham Schools | Kim Madden of Advocates for Children of New York, said the city’s contingency plans would pose new problems for poor families and children with special needs. “Taxis are not exactly accessible in NYC for people who use wheelchairs!” Madden wrote in an email. “Poor parents won’t be able to afford car service and wait for reimbursement and that’s what some students with disabilities would need to get to school.”... Read article

11.9.2011 | Riverdale Press | “Schools are under a lot of pressure these days to perform and a child who is more difficult and taking a lot of teacher time, it’s very tempting to get rid of them,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York.  Kim Sweet said the Department of Education puts a lot of pressure on principals and that pressure, in turn, is passed along to students.... Read article