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AFC in the News

09.30.2013 | Gotham Schools | Paulina Davis of the Charter Schools Initiative at Advocates for Children of New York said she regularly helps families who call the organization’s helpline looking for information about their children’s rights. “My work has been busy here,” she said. “While some charter schools do make an effort to work with parents of students with disabilities, we do still get a number of calls from parents who will say, a charter school said we don’t think we’re a good fit for your child.” Read article

09.16.2013 | NY1 | Though Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his administration fanned out around the city Monday to visit almost two dozen public schools that dominated the list of the state's best, the story may not be as simple or successful as it appears... "Kids with special needs, English language learners, students who are in the lowest income don't tend to get into these schools at the same rates as other kids," said Kim Sweet from Advocates for Children of NY. "And, you know, when you talk about gifted and talented programs, which a lot of these schools are, kids are actively prepping for these programs." Read article 

09.08.2013 | After a dozen years of school reform under Mayor Bloomberg, the future direction of city public schools hangs in the balance. The self-professed “education mayor” secured resources for his policy priority. The year Bloomberg entered office, the average amount spent per student annually was $11,000. By 2010-11, it had risen to $19,000. But his critics and boosters fiercely debate the results. On the one hand, after shuttering large, failing high schools and replacing them with small schools, graduation rates are soaring. And the dropout rate was cut in half. On the other hand, the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress gave fuel to Bloomberg’s critics. The percentage of city eighth-graders scoring at a proficient level in math and reading in 2011 was 24%. It’s a number that hasn’t budged significantly since 2003. The Daily News asked eminent minds in the field to weigh in with advice for the next mayor. Read article

08.28.2013 | Gotham Schools | Advocates and lawyers representing students with disabilities say the city has only intensified its recent battle against parents who want their children’s private school tuition reimbursed. “They’re basically just fighting everything a lot more,” said Kim Madden, director of legal services at Advocates for Children of New York, about the city’s lawyers. AFC represents low-income families in many cases against the Department of Education. Read article

08.08.2013 | New York Daily News | “Everyone fared badly, but those kids fared even worse,” said Maggie Moroff, special-education policy coordinator at Advocates for Children. “It shows that we’re teaching to the common denominator, and that schools are not really thinking of the needs of individual students.” Only 3% of English-language learners met state standards in English, compared with about 12% last year. About 11% passed math, compared with 34% last year. Read article 

07.14.2013 | New York Daily News | Charter school funding, set by the state, has risen from about $32 million to about $659 million over a decade as the mayor increased their number.... “It’s no secret that this administration has made charter schools a priority, and this can be seen in dollars as well as in the allocation of space,” said Kim Sweet, executive director of city nonprofit Advocates for Children. Read article

06.06.2013 | AM New York | After years of budget cuts and a pronounced narrowing of the curriculum at public schools in New York City and across the nation, leading candidates vying to be the city's next mayor are promoting a vision of our schools that includes a healthy dose of arts and music and expanded access to a rich and engaging curriculum. Our organizations, as part of a coalition of more than 40 arts, education and child welfare groups, asked each of the declared 2013 mayoral candidates to share their ideas for arts in education in public schools. Read article

05.31.2013 | MSNBC | As the national conversation on school safety continues to draw attention, the so-called school-to-prison pipeline has largely gone unmentioned. But a new report finds that tighter disciplinary policies and an increased number of police officers at school are landing a staggering number of children behind bars, instead of behind desks. In recent years, thousands of students have been suspended, expelled, or even arrested for minor infractions, finds the report, Keeping Kids In School and Out of Court, all in the name of making school a safer place. These punitive measures disproportionately target minority and special education students, putting them at a greater risk for dropping out, court involvement, and incarceration. Read article

05.30.2013 | The New York Times | The New York Times Editorial Board endorses the recommendations of the New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force. The New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children, working with Advocates for Children of New York, sponsored the New York City School-Justice Partnership Task Force with support from the law firm of Skadden Arps and a grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies. Read article

05.30.2013 | GothamSchools | A group of city officials, educators and members of the justice system are determined to make lowering school suspensions and arrests a high city priority. The 45-member School-Justice Partnership task force led by a former state judge released a report Thursday that recommends the next mayor encourage all agencies and the court system to work together to reduce suspensions, summonses and student arrests. The report, which took two years to complete, was presented to an audience of about 150 at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice where mayoral candidate Bill Thompson also made an appearance to support the recommendations. Read article