June News: Pittsburgh schools commit to ending suspensions; PA budget down to the wire; take action today; and more
Pittsburgh Public School Board commits to ending the practice of suspending and expelling young students  
ELC's Cheryl Kleiman speaks at a rally before the District's board meeting
This month, the Pittsburgh Public School Board voted to take the first step towards eliminating suspensions and expulsions of children in elementary school. The Board established a new working group, comprised of parents, students, educators, and advocates charged with establishing a plan to end the practice of suspending and expelling students in grades PreK-5. 

This important step is the culmination of years of work by the Education Law Center and our key partners engaged in advocacy to reduce zero-tolerance and exclusionary discipline policies that disproportionately impacted students of color and students with disabilities. The District also adopted many of the recommendation put forth by ELC and our parent, student, and community partners in revising its Code of Conduct. Most significantly, for the first time the District recognized that discipline policies should mirror the unique environments in elementary and secondary schools and adopted two separate Codes of Conduct: one for Pre-K-5, and one for grades 6-12. Other Code revisions included ELC's recommendations regarding language and policies related to immigrant and refugee students. 
PA budget must include at least $100M for students
State Sen. Vince Hughes holds up ELC's school funding report at a rally for fair education funding.
Pennsylvania lawmakers are working to pass a budget by the end of June (tomorrow)! Our public schools are not adequately or equitably funded. The state needs to increase basic education funding by at least $100 million in this year's budget and make no other cuts to public schools. This additional funding will not make Pennsylvania's schools adequately or equitably funded, but it is a step in the right direction. Our legislators need to hear from their constituents so they make students a priority. 
Use your voice: help ELC oppose two troubling pieces of legislation in Harrisburg
ELC has deep concerns about two pieces of legislation in Harrisburg.
  1. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives plans to vote on HB 97, a bill that would dramatically expand charter schools across the Commonwealth without requiring sufficient accountability for the students they serve. The bill fails to adequately address the significant problems presented by charter schools with regard to equity, transparency, and quality of education. Read ELC's letter to members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives as well as our fact sheet on HB 97.

  2. The Pennsylvania State Senate recently passed SB 383, legislation that would allow teachers and other staff to carry guns in schools. But we know that arming teachers and other school personnel will not make schools safer--while dramatically raising the odds that students will be injured or killed because of a fatal mistake. The Pennsylvania House will soon take up this dangerous legislation. For more information on this issue, please read our letter to the Pennsylvania Senate and our Op-Ed in Newsworks.
Please contact your Representative in the Pennsylvania House and urge a "No" vote on these two bills.  
ELC: Philadelphia must reject segregated school for students with disabilities
Education Law Center submitted two letters to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on behalf of the Philadelphia Coalition of Special Education Advocates in opposition to proposals to establish a new segregated setting for students with disabilities in grades K through 12. The District's proposal to place students with a wide range of diverse low-incident disabilities in an entirely segregated setting is a huge step backwards from hard-fought gains to end discrimination against students with disabilities.
ELC's Maura McInerney responds to a question during the plenary session on education rights
ELC presents with Coalition for Juvenile Justice
ELC Staff Attorney Maura McInerney was one of three panelists for a plenary session on education rights of juvenile-justice-involved youth at the annual conference of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), a nationwide coalition of State Advisory Groups (SAGs), organizations, attorneys, judges, and others dedicated to improving life outcomes for youth in  the justice system.
ELC presents webinar on new online resource for juvenile justice and education
On June 27, ELC staff presented a new national webinar about the Blueprint for Change: Educational Success for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System. This website offers a framework for promoting educational success for youth in the juvenile justice system. The site includes benchmarks for success and resources broken down both nationally and state by state. The Blueprint for Change was created by the Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education (LCYJE) - a national collaboration of Southern Poverty Law Center, Juvenile Law Center, Educational Law Center-PA, and the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law.
Statewide effort for school discipline reform gains steam
An article in the Philadelphia Public School Notebook profiled some of the statewide advocacy to reform school discipline for Pennsylvania students. The article quotes Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr and ELC Staff Attorney Kristina Moon. 
Save the date: ELC event September 27
Please plan now to join our co-chairs, David Richman & Janet Perry and David & Beth Buckman, along with nearly 300 supporters from the region's legal, business and community sectors at our 2017 Celebration on September 27 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. This year, ELC will honor PNC Bank; Joan Mazzotti; ELC Pro Bono Awardee Richard Shephard of Morgan Lewis; and Dr. Bruce Campbell Jr., PhD. We hope to see you there!
What we're reading (and watching)...
  • An article from Newsworks on the delicate process of balancing the state's budget before the June 30th deadline.
  • A report from the Center on Poverty and Inequality at the Georgetown University Law Center on how racist and sexist stereotypes undercut Black girls' access to education.
  • A video from Education Week on how educators are teaching their students to spot "fake news." 
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside more than 50 organizations across Pennsylvania, Education Law Center is a leading member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding. Click below to read more about our efforts to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where he or she lives.
United Way Donor Choice Code: 1873 (Southeastern PA)

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
 
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn