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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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News & Media

AFC in the News

6.20.2012 | Gotham Schools | Advocates filed a federal complaint today against the city Department of Education that they said represents years of troubling reports from parents who don’t speak English. Hundreds of those parents have come to the advocacy groups with concerns that the department doesn’t provide sufficient language services for navigating special education. And with extensive special education reforms in progress, the need for language services is more pressing than ever, said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children. AFC, which represents low-income students and students with disabilities, joined with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest to file the complaint with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights on behalf of 19 city families. The complaint charges the city with violating federal, state, and city laws by failing to provide translation services for the parents of children with special needs.   Read article

6.20.2012 | NY1 News | Advocates for Children of New York and Lawyers for the Public Interest said the lack of services is hindering tens of thousands of parents from becoming involved with their children's special education programs. Click here to watch coverage.

6.20.2012 | New York Times/SchoolBook | Kim Sweet, the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York, said that these parents were eager to participate in their children’s education, but were hampered by their lack of English proficiency, and that the city has not shown the necessary support. “They really can’t participate or speak out,” Ms. Sweet said, “because despite their requests, they’re not able to get materials in their own languages.” Read article

6.19.2012 | Gotham Schools | Students without disabilities also struggle to pass the required exams, and they too would benefit from a more robust rethinking of what it should take to graduate from high school in New York City, said Gisela Alvarez, a project director for Advocates for Children. Read article

6.18.2012 | Gotham Schools | The state’s highest court ruled last week that public school students cannot use New York’s human rights law to seek recognition of discrimination — or get financial compensation when discrimination has taken place. Never before have courts ruled that such a large group of constituents is not protected by the law, said Rebecca Shore, the director of litigation for Advocates for Children, which aims to protect low-income students from discrimination. Read article

6.13.2012 | NY1 | The policy has been tested in a 260-school pilot program since 2010. But council members and advocates say the city is now expanding it to all 1,700 schools before fully studying key factors, like behavior and discipline, of students in the pilot. "The public really needs to know what happened in those 260 schools," said Maggie Moroff of Advocates for Children of NY. Read article

6.5.2012 | New York Times | “It is great that the DOE is starting to think of discipline in a more holistic way," said Avni Bhatia, a staff attorney for Advocates of Children of New York.  But because there are no requirements for schools to use these new practices  we're concerned that schools that have long relied on punitive policies will continue to do so."   Read article

6.1.2012 | New York Daily News | “The practice of retaining students year after year without investing in improving their education has been problematic, so it’s good to see some steps in the right direction,” said Advocates for Children executive director Kim Sweet. Read article

6.1.2012 | Gotham Schools | Critics of the social promotion ban have said they have seen some students stuck in a grade, unable to advance because of the state tests. Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, said today that those students often become discouraged and are unlikely to advance. “We ended up seeing students held back repeatedly that weren’t really getting extra help,” she said. Read article

5.29.2012 | WABC-TV Print Version | " We're asking the state to keep the local diploma as an option until they put into place new pathways to graduation," Gisela Alvarez, senior project director, said. Alvarez and the not-for-profit Advocates for Children of New York have joined a coalition, pushing for the state legislation that would extend the deadline for ending the local diploma...read more