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Sharon has a learning disability and recently graduated from high school thanks to AFC's assistance securing the support she needed to learn.

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AFC in the News

04.18.2014 | New York World | Youth advocates praise the progress that has been made so far under the Passages program. According to ACS, 98 percent of long-term students have earned credits toward graduation. All the same, they are asking ACS and DOE to disseminate more detailed data about how students are faring, revealing the school performance of specific groups at Passages Academy — among them students receiving special education services. “It’s been very difficult for us to make any assessments because very little data has come out,” said Amy Breglio, Staff Attorney at Advocates for Children’s School Justice Project, a New York–based nonprofit. Information about young people in detention and not enrolled at Passages, meanwhile, is even scarcer, she notes. Read article

04.08.2014 | Chalkbeat New York | The new administration’s steep challenge is to ensure that neighborhood schools and general education teachers have the resources and training to serve students with disabilities, said Kim Sweet, executive director of the group Advocates for Children of New York. “It’s one thing to change where kids go to school,” she said. “But it’s an entirely different thing to make sure those schools are prepared to educate all students effectively.” Read article

04.07.2014 | Chalkbeat New York | De Blasio’s hesitation to make changes to the policy has caused confusion for parents eager to know how much test scores will matter—if at all—when it comes to admission and promotion decisions. It has also flummoxed parent advocates who say that some kind of notice would have been an anxiety-reducing gesture at a time when emotions around testing are running high. Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children, said she was “stunned” that the administration has remained mum on the subject. “The city could have been more clear,” Moroff said. “There could have been an announcement about this.” Read article

04.07.2014 | Education Week | Early-education proponents in the city said they were thrilled about the new money. "We've been waiting more than 15 years for this day," said Randi Levine, the project director of the Early Childhood Education Project, an initiative of Advocates for Children of New York. In 1997, state lawmakers passed legislation to provide a half-day of pre-K for all 4-year-olds, but the state has never devoted enough funding to achieve that goal. Last year, the state created a $25 million competitive-grant program that districts could access for pre-K, but that money was "woefully insufficient" for the city, Ms. Levine said. Read article

04.03.2014 | WABC Eyewitness News | Although Tavian is back in school and working to make up for the time he lost, we're told he might still be on suspension had he not been represented by the not-for-profit Advocates for Children. "This is a case that unfortunately we see too often, where it's typical of a school culture where suspension is really the first option instead of the last resort," said attorney Bernard Dufresne. Read article

03.28.2014 | Salon | In the struggle to find space for both public and charter schools, District 75 schools have long been the first to get shuffled around, according to Advocates for Children, an organization that defends access to education for students with disabilities and other marginalized children facing discrimination. “Because they’ve been broken up into pieces, the DOE [New York City Department of Education] often hasn’t seen them as having a real claim on being part of an education community,” explained Kim Sweet, executive director at Advocates for Children. But, added AFC staff attorney Paulina Davis, “I think for the students who are in those programs, they very much consider that [location] to be their school. That’s their community.” Read article

03.21.2014 | New York Times | AFC Executive Director Kim Sweet responds to the charter school debate with a letter to the editor: "New York City’s charter schools educate only about 6 percent of the city’s students. Yet charter schools continue to dominate public debate about reform in education. It’s time to change the conversation to focus attention and resources on the other 94 percent — including the more than one million New York City children who still rely on traditional public schools to prepare them for college and the workplace. Let’s stop arguing about which schools are better and work together to educate New York’s most disadvantaged students." Read article

03.18.2014 | Gotham Gazette | AFC coordinates The Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma, which recently released a report examining the difficulties that high stakes standardized exit exams pose for many students and addressing the need for multiple pathways to graduation. This op-ed by Coalition member David Bloomfield encourages new avenues to high school graduation and references the report's recommendations. Read article

03.16.2014 | Newsday | "Districts face myriad challenges, especially given the budgetary constraints many districts are operating under," said Jennifer Pringle, project director for New York State Technical and Education Assistance Center for Homeless students, an agency funded by the state Department of Education that trains school districts to address the needs of homeless students. Pringle said guidance counselors and social workers often are among the first positions cut when budgets get tight. "These staff provide critical social [and] emotional support to all students, including students experiencing homelessness," she said. The strain on school district resources compounds the traditional problems faced by homeless students, who experts say traditionally fare worse in academic assessments and have lower graduation rates. Read article

03.12.2014 | City Limits | The second goal, the promised transfer of all academic credits earned by youth in placement, has not been delivered, either. Attorneys at Advocates for Children say when teens are released from OCFS placement, New York City public high schools frequently reject their credits—and don’t want to re-enroll them, in violation of the law...Those lost credits represent hundreds of hours of hard work in difficult circumstances, by students often deeply discouraged with school. “It’s a huge deterrent,” says Dawn Yuster, director of Advocates for Children’s School Justice Project. “It’s tragic. They do all this work, spend all this time, but the credits may not count.” She adds: “A lot of times, community schools don’t want our kids. But they’ve served their time, they have a right to an education. At the end of the day, no school is supposed to turn away a kid.” Read article