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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

05.12.2022 | The New York Times | The new policy was met with applause by a group who has called for reading reforms in the city. 

“The plans announced today could have a transformative impact if implemented well,” Kim Sweet, the executive director for Advocates for Children of New York, said in a statement, adding that the group looked forward to working with education officials to ensure that “all children learn to read, no matter where they go to school.” Read article

05.12.2022 | Prism Reports | “It’s overly broad. It’s subjective, it’s vague, and once you have subjectivity, you have a greater likelihood of bias,” said Dawn Yuster, Esq., director of the School Justice Project for Advocates for Children. Last year, Advocates for Children released an update to their report, “Police Response to Students in Emotional Crisis: A Call for Comprehensive Mental Health and Social-Emotional Support for Students in Police-Free Schools,” which showed that disabled students—which includes students labeled ED—are more likely to be removed from schools, or restrained by the police and school safety agents. 

Students with an ED classification are often segregated into District 75, New York City’s designation for classrooms, programs, or entire schools that provide specialized support for disabled students. Advocates for Children’s report found that while District 75 students only make up 2.3% of the public school student population, over 9% “child in crisis” interventions involving the use of handcuffs between 2018 and 2020 happened at a District 75 school. This analysis also notes that during the same period more than one-in-five students handcuffed while in crisis was a District 75 student.

“Our data suggests that low-income Black students with emotional and behavioral disabilities are disproportionately referred to some District 75 schools where they are segregated from their peers, heavily policed, and may not be receiving the therapeutic support and services that they need,” said Yuster. She went on to explain how students of color are often miscategorized as emotionally disturbed by adding, “a lot of these [disruptive] behaviors are manifestations of woefully deficient services, inappropriate diagnoses, or an unmet academic learning behavioral need.” Read article

05.12.2022 | Gothamist | Last week, a report from Advocates for Children called on the education department to urgently revamp literacy instruction across the public school system. Fewer than 47% of all third through eighth graders, and only 36% of Black and Hispanic students, scored proficient in reading on 2019 state tests, statistics the group called “unconscionable.” Read article

05.12.2022 | Chalkbeat NY | The plans “could have a transformative impact if implemented well,” said Kim Sweet, of Advocates for Children, which has spent decades fighting for low-income students who are struggling with reading and are unable to be supported in public schools. 

Her organization looked forward to “digging into the details” and working with the education department so that “all children learn to read, no matter where they go to school,” she said in a statement. Read article

05.12.2022 | NY Daily News | Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children, a group that works on behalf of students with disabilities and recently released its own recommendations to improve reading instruction, said “we’re encouraged to see the Mayor and Chancellor tackling this issue head on. The plans announced today could have a transformative impact if implemented well.” Read article

05.03.2022 | New York Post | More than 100,000 public school students were homeless last school year — including a third that lived in New York City shelters. More than half of students living in shelters miss at least one out of every 10 school days, according to data cited by Advocates for Children. 

The DOE committed in February to adding 50 community coordinators in shelters, but advocates said they were still waiting for those job descriptions to be posted. 

“We would like to see the DOE begin hiring right away,” said Randi Levine of Advocates for Children. 

Department officials did not return a request for comment on the status of that hiring process. Read article

05.02.2022 | NY Daily News | Yet enormous obstacles remain to creating widespread change in a system with 1,600 schools and more than 70,000 teachers — and advocates warn that the DOE could squander its opportunity without specific and long-term plans for how to make reforms stick. 

“History tells us the work ahead will not be easy and good intentions are not enough,” wrote the nonprofit group Advocates for Children in a report released Monday offering recommendations for the Education Department. Read article

05.02.2022 | New York Post | “Every parent sends their child to school assuming they will be taught to read,” said Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children. “Yet when students struggle, parents often have to find help on their own.” 

“As a city, we need to stop accepting that unacceptable outcome and provide the literacy instruction and support needed to make all children proficient readers,” she said. 

Alongside the letter, a new report from Advocates for Children on Monday pushed for coordinated efforts across the nation’s largest school system to use evidence-based literacy curriculum, and support the teachers implementing those lesson plans. Read article

05.02.2022 | amNewYork | “Every parent sends their child to school assuming they will be taught to read. Yet when students struggle, parents often have to find help on their own,” said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of AFC. “As a city, we need to stop accepting that unacceptable outcome and provide the literacy instruction and support needed to make all children proficient readers.” 

Literacy challenges are far from a new struggle within NYC, and the AFC believes that under the leadership of Mayor Adams – who has candidly spoken about his struggles with dyslexia – and Chancellor Banks who has pledged to revamp literacy instruction, with $250 million already designated for “academic recovery and student supports”, the struggle to improve literacy will be met with sincerity. Read article

05.02.2022 | Gothamist | The report from Advocates for Children – “Reaching Every Reader” – argued the fact that so few public school students are being taught to read effectively is “unconscionable,” citing how less than 47% of all third through eighth graders, and only 36% of Black and Hispanic students, scored proficient in reading on 2019 state tests. 

“[W]hen students do not attain a level of reading proficiency sufficient to pass the state test, they have not failed,” the report said. “The school system has failed them.” Read article