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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

07.09.2020 | NY1 | While Executive Director Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York admits there’s “no right answer” in these unprecedented circumstances, she says the plan is complicated. Inequities for children in certain situations are only growing, says Sweet, and those with learning disabilities, learning English as a second language, or living in homeless shelters will only be pushed further behind.

That’s because instead of catering in-person learning hours to students who need them most, classroom time will be dependent on how crowded a school is.

“We had hoped that the plan would target the scarce resource of in-person instruction to the students that need it most. We have not seen that so far in this plan,” said Sweet. Watch video

07.08.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | “Working families who have multiple children attending different schools — or maybe even different grades at the same school — will be forced into an impossible juggling act,” Kim Sweet, director of the nonprofit Advocates for Children, said in a statement. “Schooling is inextricably intertwined with child care, and the two systems must be looked at together — not in isolation or as an afterthought.” Read article

06.25.2020 | The Chronicle of Social Change | Without an extension, the all-important transition to preschool special education, for many, will be in jeopardy. “We are very concerned that services will end abruptly for children who recently turned 3 but who have not yet had preschool special education evaluations,” wrote a coalition of 80 child-serving organizations in a recent letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). “Given the uncertainty of this pandemic, this deadline risks cutting children off from services for months and months during one of the most critical periods of their development.” ... Extending the deadline would be cost-neutral for the state, according to Randi Levine, policy director at Advocates for Children, who drafted the letter to the governor. Read article

06.24.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | “It would be great if someone within that office was tasked solely with looking at students in care as opposed to it being ... a very, very, very tiny part of a few people’s job,” said Erika Palmer, Supervising Attorney for Advocates for Children of New York.

Palmer said students in foster care often don’t get the support they need, noting: “In general, it is a really small group of students ... so their needs do often get overlooked.” Read article

06.23.2020 | Democrat & Chronicle | An unspecified number of New York 3-year-olds with developmental delays and disabilities may lose their state-provided services next week if the state does not extend a key deadline, according to a group of 80 advocacy organizations.

"Unless the State acts quickly, we are deeply concerned that young children with developmental delays and disabilities across the State will experience a gap in services in violation of their legal rights," the coalition of 80 organizations wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week. "We need to make sure that the efforts of the EI program and the progress children have made are not undone due to a gap in services." Read article

06.15.2020 | POLITICO | "The young people aging out of school in two weeks are the same student populations who have been hardest hit by the pandemic itself and by the challenges of online learning," said Ashley Grant, a supervising staff attorney for AFC and coordinator of the statewide Coalition for Multiple Pathways to a Diploma. "COVID has already devastated Black and Latinx communities. It shouldn’t take away students’ chance to earn a high school diploma too."

About 74 percent of students aging out are Black or Latino even as those students make up less than 45 percent of the total high school population in the state, and 47 percent have disabilities, according to the brief. And one in three students aging out is learning English as a new language.

Read article

06.13.2020 | The River | “It is essentially the contract between the school district and the family that lays out all the support and services a student with a disability requires to make progress in school,” says Maggie Moroff, special education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children of New York. Moroff also helps coordinate the ARISE Coalition, a collection of parents, advocates, academics, educators, and other stakeholders who push for systemic changes to improve day-to-day experiences and long-term outcomes for students with disabilities in New York City public schools.

IEPs serve as blueprints for the services provided to students, dictating how often they receive additional sessions and what their optimal classroom setup looks like. “If a service is on the IEP, the Department of Education is required, by law, to then provide that service,” Moroff says. Read article

06.06.2020 | NY Daily News | “Without substantial federal support, the current crisis will have lifelong consequences for a generation of children whose education has been interrupted for reasons beyond their control,” wrote the education advocacy group Advocates for Children, which was joined in the letter by dozens of other city education nonprofits. Read article

05.26.2020 | CNN Español | Un grupo específico de estudiantes de Nueva York se ha visto afectado por la pandemia: los alumnos de secundaria que sobrepasan la edad regular de graduación. María Santana habla con jóvenes que nos cuentan cómo los cambios en el sistema de educación por el covid-19 ponen una presión extra sobre los alumnos con situaciones difíciles sin medios para llevar clases virtuales y también aquellos que temen nunca obtener su diploma si pierden esta oportunidad para graduarse. Watch the video

05.19.2020 | Chalkbeat NY | “As the DOE prepares for remote summer school, it must redouble its engagement efforts, providing individualized support to address the barriers to remote learning that led to the need for summer school for many students in the first place,” said Randi Levine, the policy director at Advocates for Children. Read article