December News: Happy Holidays from ELC 
Happy holidays to all of our partners and supporters!
We wish you all the best for the holiday season.
Did you read Khadidja's story?
Learn how ELC is helping protect Khadidja's educational rights and those of thousands of Pennsylvania's most vulnerable children who are denied access to quality public education every year.

Now more than ever, ELC needs your support. Please join us by making your fully tax-deductible year-end gift today to ELC online at www.elc-pa/donate. Thank you for your support.
Important victory for limited English proficient parents of children with disabilities
This month, a federal judge soundly rejected the School District of Philadelphia's efforts to dismiss our case involving more than a thousand children with disabilities whose parents speak little or no English. Our federal class-action lawsuit was filed in 2015 with our partners, the Public Interest Law Center and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. The complaint alleges that limited English proficient parents are illegally denied their right to meaningfully participate in the special education process due to the District's failure to provide essential documents in a language they understand or to provide sufficient interpretation services at meetings. This has resulted in students failing to receive critical services in an appropriate school placement. In his opinion, the judge agreed that all of our claims on behalf of parents and students are viable and the case will now proceed with fact discovery and class certification proceedings.
Recent law school graduates: Work with ELC and the Stoneleigh Foundation
Candidates are invited to apply for a Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellowship with the Education Law Center. Fellows will work with ELC staff to raise awareness and support for LGBT and gender nonconforming youth and to improve their educational outcomes across Greater Philadelphia. Candidates must have completed a JD or LLM degree between 2014 and 2017. The deadline to apply is December 30th. 
ELC's advocacy to change biased policies featured in New York Magazine
A New York Magazine article highlighted ELC's work to change policies in schools that disproportionately punish black girls. The article, which features ELC Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr, notes how dress codes with subjective language and other policies contribute to the disproportionate suspension and expulsion of black girls in schools. 
Panel discussion on new best practices for students in foster care to feature ELC 
There are 270,000 school-aged children currently in foster care across the United States, and new federal guidelines are in place to ensure school stability and improve educational outcomes for these students. Hear directly from ELC Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney and others on January 27th at the offices of Berger & Montague P.C. in Philadelphia as part of the CASA Speaker series.
ELC and partners call on Governor, General Assembly to increase special education funding
Students with disabilities are some of Pennsylvania's most at-risk children, and insufficient funding has led to deep cuts to resources and staff support in special education services. ELC, along with a large coalition of concerned advocates across the state, composed a letter to Governor Tom Wolf urging him to propose $100 million in additional funds for special education in order to address the growing and significant unmet needs of students with disabilities.
Work with ELC!
The Education Law Center is seeking  a full-time policy attorney in our office in Philadelphia and  a full-time staff attorney in our office in Pittsburgh.  Applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Law students: join us for the summer
The Education Law Center invites law students to apply for 2017 summer legal internships in both our Philadelphia and Pittsburgh offices. Please click the link for details about the application process. 
ELC joins coalition urging proposed U.S. Secretary of Education to enforce civil rights law 
The U.S. Department of Education is responsible for implementing and enforcing laws protecting students from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex and disability and those laws that provide for educational opportunity from early childhood through graduate school. ELC joined 32 other civil rights organizations to issue a statement on the importance of having a Secretary "committed to respecting, valuing and protecting every single student in this country."
ELC successfully helps family experiencing homelessness
This month, ELC successfully ensured the enrollment of three siblings, one of whom is a student with a disability, experiencing homelessness in a suburban Philadelphia school district. Prior to contacting ELC, the family spent several weeks attempting to enroll their children in school, but were denied enrollment, in violation of federal and state law. ELC will continue to pursue legal strategies to ensure that the enrollment rights of students experiencing homelessness and students with disabilities are not ignored.
ELC presents in national webinar on achieving educational success for youth in the juvenile justice system
ELC Staff Attorneys Kristina Moon and Maura McInerney presented a national webinar previewing the Blueprint for Change: Education Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System - a new tool developed by the Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE), a collaboration of ELC, Juvenile Law Center, Southern Poverty Law Center and the ABA Center on Children and the Law. The Blueprint for Change highlights essential goals and benchmarks for achieving education success for youth in and exiting from the juvenile justice system along with model laws, policies, and programs. The webinar provided an overview of the Blueprint and important provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act impacting these students. 

LCYJE is currently conducting a brief survey of practitioners to gather thoughts on where the field and practice of litigation on juvenile justice education issues need additional support and research. If you are a litigator in this field, please complete our survey.
What we're reading...
  • A new study from the University of Chicago and the USC Schaeffer Center shows investing in Pre-K programs produces significant social and economic returns.
  • An article in ThinkProgress explains how a school's over-emphasis on discipline can create a negative "culture of compliance."
  • The White House's new report highlights the progress made in response to the national "Rethink Discipline" campaign and the need to continue to improve school discipline in the U.S. 
  • Newsworks WHYY reporter Kevin McCorry's piece describes the unique educational system in Ontario, Canada - just two hours from the Pennsylvania border.
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A copy of the Education Law Center's official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.  
Ensuring access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania
 
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