05.31.2016 | Politico New York | “From what we see with the kids we work with, these programs are worth expanding, they work, and they prevent disciplinary incidents from occurring,” said Sweet, the director of Advocates for Children, in an interview. “Our issue is just that we need more of it, there are 1,800 schools.” Sweet noted that students with disabilities continue to be suspended at significantly higher rates than their peers, and said her office sees “so many cases of kids with disabilities who get caught doing something bad because of their disability.” Read article
Call AFC's Education Helpline
Monday to Thursday
10 am to 4 pm
Christiana has a learning disability and recently graduated from high school thanks to AFC's assistance securing the support she needed to learn.
Receive email updates or text alerts from AFC.
News & Media
AFC in the News
05.26.2016 | Gotham Gazette | Advocates for Children began the School Justice Project to address the root causes of suspension and help keep students out of the criminal justice system. The project also helps students in juvenile detention or those returning from detention stay on track to reach their academic goals. “When students are suspended, it increases their likelihood of not graduating from high school, it increases their likelihood of being involved in the juvenile justice system,” said Paulina Davis, supervising attorney of AFC’s School Justice Project. “There are high stakes outcomes on the line every time a student is suspended. So it’s really a process that we need to be very thoughtful about.” Read article
05.17.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Advocates who have been pushing for more inclusion for [District 75] students say it should continue to exist, even though figuring out exactly who it is for “is a really hard question,” according to Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children...The district has sometimes been viewed as a dumping ground for students with emotional or behavioral problems, but who have no cognitive deficits, Advocates for Children’s Moroff said. That attitude could disproportionately affect black and Latino students. Read article
May 2016 | Voices in Urban Education (VUE) | The Turning 5 work group – a collaboration between Advocates for Children of New York, the New York City Department of Education, and other partner organizations – provides support to families of students with disabilities facing the challenges of transitioning to kindergarten. This article by Randi Levine, director of AFC's Early Childhood Education Project, was published in the May 2016 issue of VUE, a publication of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Read article
04.29.2016 | DNA Info | Until this spring, only students with special needs were eligible for the alternative graduation credit program. Disabilities advocates, however, fought to expand it to all students, arguing that schools needed an incentive to bolster these career-focused programs and put more resources into them. “By limiting [this certificate] to students with disabilities, we had concerns that it would stigmatize students with disabilities,” said Abja Midha, a project director at Advocates for Children.
Midha and other advocates have been pushing the state to create additional avenues for students to get their diplomas ever since it transitioned away from a local diploma option in favor of the Regents test-based diploma. “There was no plan focusing on how do we best serve the needs of all students or recognition that a one-size approach does not fit needs of all students who aren’t good test takers,” she said. Read article
04.20.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Zeroing in on students’ specific needs is baked into the curriculum. Since every student is somehow behind, teachers focus on making sure students master foundational skills before moving on. ... Brooklyn Frontiers’ approach was recently praised in an Advocates for Children report that featured the school’s literacy program. It “felt much more age appropriate than any other instruction we’ve seen for high schoolers who aren’t reading yet,” said Maggie Moroff, the organization’s special education policy coordinator. “There’s a lot of creativity that’s going on at the teaching level.” Read article
03.31.2016 | NY1 | Student suspensions were down 32 percent this past summer and fall compared to the same period a year earlier. The city claims it's the direct result of a new disciplinary policy ordered by Mayor Bill de Blasio. "It means fewer kids missing class time, and it means more schools have started to use these research-based practices that prevent problem behavior," said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article
03.31.2016 | New York Daily News | For the first time, the city released data on how many students were transported by EMS from district schools. About 14%, or 601 of the 4,305 transports were related to the emotional or psychological condition of students. “This supports calls for expanding mental health services for students,” said Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York. “(Staff) is calling EMS because they don’t have more appropriate strategies to help students when they act out.” Read article
03.31.2016 | Chalkbeat New York | Advocates have long criticized schools that resort to 911 calls to deal with disorderly students instead of employing other strategies to diffuse conflicts. A 2014 settlement barred schools from making 911 calls before trying to de-escalate the situation. “This first batch of data on EMS referrals supports the call for expanding crisis intervention support for school staff and mental health services for students in our city’s schools,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children of New York. Read article