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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

4.20.2012 | New York Times/SchoolBook | Kim Sweet, the director of Advocates for Children, said that while the proposed options could make a dent in the graduation rate for disabled students, they were too restrictive. “Why do you only get a safety net if you’re a student with a disability?” she said. “There are also general education students who can’t pass certain tests. The difference is one has a label and one doesn’t.” Ms. Sweet’s organization has estimated that if students had been unable to earn a local diploma in 2010, as many as 14,000 would not have graduated within four years, a figure that could do damage to the state’s rising graduation rate... Read article

4.18.2012 | GothamSchools | Advocates say the tests simply aren’t designed in a way that makes sense for many students with special needs and that no amount of extra time can change that. “I’m not even talking about modifying the test,” said Maggie Moroff of Advocates for Children. “I’m talking about designing the test from the first instance so that it really reflects the strengths of more and more kids.”... Read article

4.16.2012 | GothamSchools | “There’s a lot of work that needs to be done between now and September to make that [special education reform] successful, so anyone coming in will have to jump right in,” said Maggie Moroff, coordinator of the ARISE Coalition of special education advocacy groups. Moroff said she was surprised by the news of Rodriguez’s retirement and had not met Rello-Anselmi during her monthly meetings with Rodriguez and other department officials... Read article

4.13.2012 | WNYC | "It doesn't seem like efforts to increase representation from low-income communities are working," said Kim Sweet, Executive Director of the group Advocates for Children of New York. "Part of the problem is still outreach," she said. "But when students can prep for the test, low-income families have an even greater disadvantage."... Read article

3.28.2012 | Insideschools.org | “There is a broad spectrum with children with disabilities and many more of them should have access to quality programs,” said Maggie Moroff of Advocates for Children. “With the appropriate support and services, there’s no reason those children shouldn’t be able to achieve at the same level as their more typically developing peers.” She expressed concern, however, that the DOE may not have made adequate plans to give disabled children the support they need in classes for the gifted... Read article

3.22.2012 | The New York Times | Randi Levine, a lawyer for Advocates for Children of New York stated, “ While children in New York City have the right to attend kindergarten if their parents choose, the voluntary nature of kindergarten has caused widespread confusion and has resulted in children missing out on this critical year of school.” … Read article

3.02.2012 | Insideschools.org | Our friends and colleagues at Advocates for Children are putting out a call to action to protect early intervention programs for young children. Early Intervention provides evaluations and services to infants and toddler who have developmental delays or disabilities and their families. Governor Cuomo's 2012-2013 Executive budget proposal would restructure Early Intervention, linking those services to health insurance coverage. In a statement, Advocates says: "While we support the goal of requiring private health insurance comopanies to contribute to the cost of EI, we are concerned about parts of the proposal."… Read article

2.22.2012 | NBC New York | Kim Sweet, of Advocates for Children, told me: “We’re getting to the point where we are creating additional testing, not to benefit children but to evaluate teachers. You have to worry about the effect that will have on students’ education.”… Read article

2.21.2012 | Insideschools.org | "A reform like this requires a lot of planning," said Kim Sweet, director of Advocates for Children. "We would like to see the DOE do more to assure parents that when they drop off their five-year-olds at school in September, the school will be ready for them."… Read article

2.14.2012 | The Wall Street Journal | The independent Advocates for Children of New York are trying to insert provisions that recognize the particular challenges of special education teachers, who must help students with emotional and physical disabilities, and others who are teaching immigrant students to learn English along with their lessons.

"A teacher working with a student with disabilities has to contend with overall classroom goals, but also with the individualized goal of students," said Kim Sweet, executive director of Advocates for Children, which is funded by independent foundations and isn't connected to teacher unions. "In addition to content and curriculum, students may be working with social and emotional issues, many may have physical issues and are working at a different level, although the same content, as other classes. A teacher has to differentiate instruction to a whole different level."

The unintended consequence of a general evaluation system that doesn't make allowances for these instances risks the firing of hard-to-keep teachers in special education, more disabled students turned to less rigorous alternative assessments, and a shortage of teachers entering the difficult field, said Gisela Alvarez, senior project manager at the organization that serves low-income students, mostly in New York City. … Read article