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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

02.17.2015 | New York Daily News | Federal law grants immigrant public school parents a right to translation and immigration services. A city Department of Education policy requires language services in the nine most common languages other than English spoken by city parents — Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu — but schools are not complying, said Abja Midha of Advocates for Children of New York. In 2012, her group filed a legal complaint against the city Education Department, calling a lack of translation services for non-English-speaking parents of kids with disabilities a “systemic failure.” “It’s an issue that continues throughout the system,” Midha said. Read article

02.13.2015 | New York Times | Some civil rights and children’s advocates were less celebratory of the administration’s specific new policies, which they considered relatively minor, and more optimistic about the introduction of a team of educators, parents, police and city officials that is to consider additional changes. “It’s a start,” Kim Sweet, executive director for Advocates for Children, a legal and advocacy agency, said of the announcement. “My hope is that it’s just a start.” Read article

02.13.2015 | WNYC SchoolBook | Bernard Dufresne, a staff attorney with Advocates for Children of New York, said he also hoped to eventually eliminate suspensions for insubordination. However, he called the proposed new code a "good start." He also noted the appointment of a new School Climate Leadership Team that will be reviewing data and advising the administration on additional changes. Read article

02.13.2015 | Capital New York | The Department of Education announced a series of long-awaited reforms to the school discipline code on Friday, including new policies aimed at lowering suspension rates, and new funding to support restorative justices practices and students in the criminal justice system....On Friday, advocates praised the reforms, but focused largely on the potential of the new task force. Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children, said "[De Blasio] has assembled a leadership team with the potential to develop policies that will benefit thousands of students a year." Read article

02.13.2015 | Colorlines | New York City charter schools’ harsh school discipline policies violate city discipline standards and state law, researchers at the New York City group Advocates for Children (PDF) found. The new report, released Thursday, details a troubling narrative: families, who at first experience joyful relief over their children’s admission to a charter school soon gives way to frustration and confusion when their students are suspended, and then often summarily expelled by those same charter schools which promise extra supports for students. Read article

02.13.2015 | Gothamist | A children’s advocacy group has found that large numbers of NYC charter schools are violating state and federal law in their disciplinary practices, handing out excessive suspensions and expulsions—often without due process—to children as young as five. Through Freedom of Information Law requests, Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) obtained the discipline policies of 155 out of the 183 total charter schools in NYC during the 2012-2013 school year and part of the 2013-2014 school year. Their report, "Civil Rights Suspended," examines how those policies fail to protect students and details some of the most egregious allegations of excessive discipline. Read article

02.12.2015 | New York Times | Most of New York City’s charter schools have disciplinary codes that do not meet either state or federal requirements, according to a report by a children’s advocacy organization that is to be released on Thursday. The finding adds a new dimension to a long-running debate about the role that strict forms of discipline plays in the city’s public schools. “These are public schools, and we should be expecting them to meet the requirements of the law,” said Paulina Davis, a staff attorney with the group, Advocates for Children, and the principal author of the report. Read article

02.12.2015 | WNYC SchoolBook | Advocates for Children of New York looked at the policies for 164 of the city's nearly 200 charter schools. Staff attorney Paulina Davis said 107, or two thirds, of those reviewed allowed children to be removed for any infraction, even if it's as minor as littering or not wearing a uniform. "It violates the student's right to due process," she explained. "And that includes the right to a penalty that is proportionate for the student's conduct." Read article

01.28.2015 | Epoch Times | Some 9,000 children six years old and younger are homeless in New York City, states a report by the New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, released Wednesday. The report points out homeless children would benefit the most from city-funded child care programs, but often don’t because of lack of communication between the agency responsible for the child care program, Administration for Children’s Services, and the agency responsible for the shelters, Department of Homeless Services. The city doesn’t track how many homeless children enroll in its child care system, according to Jennifer Pringle, NYS-TEACHS project director, and the shelters focus more on looking for permanent housing than child care for their clients. Read article

12.18.2014 | Chalkbeat New York | The state is also considering a policy change that would let students substitute a different exam for one of the five they must currently pass to graduate, and another that would let English learners appeal low scores on their English exams. Abja Midha, a project director at Advocates for Children, said the proposals must be coupled with more classroom support. “We definitely welcome the recent increase in attention to English-language learners,” she said. “But we definitely will be keeping an eye on what instructional supports are provided and how they play out.” Read article