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Micaela’s Story

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

12.06.2018 | New York Daily News | Advocates for Children Executive Director Kim Sweet said the new enrollment rule will improve kids’ lives. “This change in policy should make a world of difference for students with physical accessibility needs who have historically found it nearly impossible to make the same use of NYC’s school choice system as their friends and family,” Sweet said. Read article

11.29.2018 | New York Daily News | The complaint, filed by non-profit Advocates for Children, claims Success officials changed special education placements of students with disabilities against regulations and refused to comply with administrative hearing orders in special education cases. “Students with disabilities do not give up their civil rights when they enter a charter school,” said Advocates for Children Executive Director Kim Sweet. “These laws exist to protect students with disabilities and guarantee parents a voice in their children’s education.” Read article

11.29.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | The complaint, filed with the state’s education department, alleges a pattern of school officials unilaterally changing special education placements without holding meetings with parents, moving students to lower grade levels, and even ignoring hearing officers’ rulings. In some cases, students were removed from classrooms that integrate special and general education students and sent to classrooms that only serve students with disabilities. Filed by the advocacy group Advocates for Children and a private law firm, the complaint says that Success Academy officials often force parents to fight the charter network in federal court to maintain the services that are listed on a student’s individual learning plan, also known as an IEP. Read article

11.14.2018 | New York Times | The problems with busing run deep and require bold action. As the city revamps school transportation, it must build a system that works for the students and families it is intended to serve. Read the op-ed by AFC Executive Director Kim Sweet.

11.12.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | After successfully pressing Mayor Bill de Blasio to reduce the overall number of suspensions issued to New York City students, advocates are focusing on a new target: reducing the maximum length of suspensions — which can now last an entire school year... Advocates hope to take advantage of the latest signal that city officials are open to a new set of policy changes. “It’s getting new attention from the [education department]” said Dawn Yuster, the School Justice Project director at Advocates for Children, an advocacy organization that has pushed for school discipline reform. “We see that we can get traction now, so we’re looking at as many openings as we can.” Read article

11.05.2018 | NY1 | Thirty of the city's top foster care agencies and advocacy groups have sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, asking him to provide school bus service to foster children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Right now, the city simply gets those kids to school by giving them MetroCards or paying for car service, leaving it to the foster family to accompany the child on their own time, and their own dime...With the city education department overhauling its troubled school bus system, the foster care advocates felt now was the time to act. “We thought this was really a crucial moment for the Department of Education and the Mayor to realize that there’s this other group of students who also needs assistance with transportation,” Erika Palmer of Advocates for Children of NY said. “It’s crucial for their educational stability.” Read article

11.02.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | But nearly 40,000 special education students — or 22 percent of all students classified as having disabilities — received only part of the interventions they were entitled to or did not receive any extra support whatsoever. Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, a non-profit that works on behalf of students with disabilities, wrote that “while the data show incremental improvements” — the fact that many students are left without services is alarming. “Given the 40-point gap in reading proficiency between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers, it is essential that the DOE ensure students with disabilities receive the instruction they need,” Sweet said. Read article

11.01.2018 | Chalkbeat New York | Heeding calls from advocates, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza proposed Thursday a $750 million plan to improve accessibility for students with disabilities at a third of the schools in every district. The announcement comes after months of urging from advocates over the lack of access for students with disabilities in a majority of school buildings. About 80 percent of New York City’s public schools are not completely accessible. Last budget cycle, the city committed $150 million to improve access over the next three years. But in order to make just a third of school buildings accessible, advocates estimated a cost of another $750 million. Officials said that, under the new plan, they expect half of elementary school buildings will be partially or fully accessible. Advocates for children with disabilities applauded the news. The plan will “literally open the doors to inclusion,” said Kim Sweet, executive director for Advocates of Children New York, in a statement. Read article

11.01.2018 | Wall Street Journal | Maggie Moroff, special-education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children, applauded the plan’s goal of making a third of schools in every community district accessible to students with disabilities over the next five years. According to the group, less than 20% of the city’s public schools currently are fully accessible. Read article

11.01.2018 | New York Daily News | Carranza’s capital plan sets a road map for the physical aspects of the city’s 1,800 public schools over the next five years. It includes $750 million to make one-third of the city’s schools in each district fully accessible to city students with disabilities by 2024, something that activists, including Advocates for Children, had pushed for. The issue grabbed headlines in October when an Advocates for Children report showed just 1 in 6 city schools are fully accessible. Read article