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Christiana 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

03.04.2016 | Politico New York | There have been rumblings about the department possibly doing away with D75 altogether in recent years, although department officials have always maintained there are no plans to eliminate it. Instead, advocates say, there's a sector-wide call for the district to have more interaction with the 32 so-called "non-specialized" school districts in order to boost inclusion across the system. "The issue for us on D75 is that it's one or the other," said Maggie Moroff, the special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, a special education advocacy group. "Students are either in non-specialized schools or they are in D75, and there's very, very little movement back and forth. It's really important to us that there's much more of a fluid relationship." D75 programs boast a great deal of expertise, she said, but naturally lack the academic rigor of the non-specialized schools. Read article

03.02.2016 | DNA Info | “It’s a huge number of kids,” said Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children, which works with families to get the services they need for their special needs students. “I wish we were surprised by the numbers, but we weren’t. We get calls every day, and a big portion of our own caseload is for kids not getting any services or not being properly served.” Read article

03.01.2016 | New York Times | The report, released to comply with a law passed by the City Council last year, said that “major deficiencies” in the design of the Special Education Student Information System, which is supposed to track students receiving special education, “continue to affect the D.O.E.’s ability to reliably report specific compliance metrics.” “That for us is one of the biggest takeaways,” said Maggie Moroff, the special-education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, which helps at-risk students. The lack of reliable data is “hugely important,” she said, “because you need the data to figure out where the holes in the service delivery are.” Read article

03.01.2016 | WNYC Schoolbook | The non-profit group Advocates for Children also noted that these numbers were in step with what they saw on the ground and heard from families who sought help when children were not receiving mandated special education services. "Clearly, the city must address the problems delivering timely, appropriate, and legally mandated special education supports," said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, in a statement. She said it was alarming that the school system did not have an accurate picture of whether schools were in compliance at all. "Only once the city is able to identify where it falls short can it adequately remedy the holes left in the educational experiences of so many students with special education needs," said Sweet. Read article

02.18.2016 | WNYC Schoolbook | The ARISE Coalition (coordinated by AFC) and Parents for Inclusive Education (PIE) respond to the DOE's official response to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's report on barrier-free schools, which found that 83 percent of the city's elementary schools are not fully accessible to people with disabilities. Read the op-ed 

02.10.2016 | DNAInfo | Advocates hailed the DOE's first step as a positive sign. The fact that special education FAQ clearly states that budget, staff and space can’t limit services is “big,” said Maggie Moroff, of Advocates for Children. “They’re trying to send a real message to the schools,” she said, noting how her group “used to fight all the time to get kids into district schools” and now “we fight all the time to get kids out” because the reform resulted in students being unable to get what they needed. But Moroff said more needs to be done. For starters, the DOE needs to take the "next step" and tell schools how to meet students' needs when their budgets, staff and space can’t meet them beyond simply working with their Borough Field Support Centers, she said. Read article

01.26.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Others say the repeated battles over the specifics of mayoral control have become a distraction. “This is another issue that takes away from the issues that we want to focus on if we have to go back to the table each year and debate mayoral control,” said Randi Levine, a project director at Advocates for Children. Read article

01.14.2016 | Public News Service | New Education Department data show the rate inched up just under 2 percent to 78.1 percent for the class that entered in 2011 and graduated in 2015. This comes as state education officials consider new pathways to graduation other than standardized tests, which Abja Midha, project director at Advocates for Children of New York, says could help close the state's achievement gap. "It's our position that there needs to be more flexibility and that the current one-size-fits-all approach that the state uses unfairly disadvantages more vulnerable student populations," she states. Despite the increase, white students are far more likely to receive a high school diploma than black or Hispanic students and graduation remains out of reach for many students with disabilities. Read article

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