Education Law Center | November Newsletter
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at ELC! We have been hard at work this month to ensure access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania. See below to learn about the state budget, school-based law enforcement, and our local and national advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children. 
As budget deal nears, ELC calls for lawmakers to pass fair funding
Governor Wolf and legislative leadership are nearing a deal on the budget. This is our chance to move the ball on fair funding. After years of cuts and underfunding--leaving some districts with insurmountable budget woes--Pennsylvania may finally see an increase in basic education funding. For five months we have waited for a budget deal that begins to address the inequities built into our school funding system. If we want to ensure that all students in Pennsylvania have an opportunity to learn, we must begin with a commitment to well-funded schools that provide students the resources and education they need. 
Our view: " If PA continues to allow school-based law enforcement... the state must require that these officers receive significant training"
A recent PennLive editorial by Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr highlights that PA state law does not require school-based law enforcement to have any training particular to interacting with students. In addition, federal data show that school police and school resource officers disproportionately target Black students.  

ELC Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr was also interviewed by Marty Moss-Coane on WHYY RadioTimes on the role of police officers in schools and their impact on the school-to-prison pipeline. The interview included Harold Jordan of the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel. 

ELC attorneys address National Conference on the Education of Homeless Children & Youth
ELC attorneys Maura McInerney and Cheryl Kleiman presented at the National Association of the Education of Homeless Children & Youth (NAEHCY) Conference in Phoenix, AZ on the complex legal educational rights of students with disabilities who are also experiencing homelessness.  ELC also presented as part of our ABA Legal Center for Foster Care & Education on the legal rights of students in foster care who are also experiencing homelessness.  Our presentations provided legal guidance, tools and strategies to help parents, students, schools and community members better navigate these laws to serve students fully and appropriately.
ELC leads dialogue session on unique educational needs of unaccompanied girls 
Our "Dialogue Session on the Unique Educational Needs of Unaccompanied Girls" was well received in western Pennsylvania where over 300 people gathered for the Homeless Children Education Fund's annual summit on November 13. ELC attorneys Jackie Perlow and Leigh Loman facilitated a listening session in collaboration with Project Silk, a community organization that supports LGBT youth of color. The dialogue was the first of many dialogue sessions we plan to hold to bring attention to unaccompanied girls, especially LGBT girls and girls of color, and how they experience the school-to-prison pipeline. We are particularly interested in hearing from girls and communities about the ways homelessness, sexual abuse, implicit biases, and school climate contribute to the unique needs of these students and what systemic reforms are needed to address them.
ELC Executive Director speaks at National Constitution Center
Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr spoke on a panel titled " School Choice: The Role of the Constitution and the Courts in Improving Education" at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. She discussed the responsibility of the Commonwealth to provide a "thorough and efficient" system of education and the difficulties schools face without a school funding formula or adequate resources. 
ELC presents at national conference on legal aid
ELC's Stoneleigh Foundation Emerging Leader Fellow Ashley Sawyer presented at the National Legal Aid and Defender Association Conference along with two Community Legal Services attorneys.T hey presented about the Youth Justice Collaborative, a new initiative to share ideas among legal advocates working with system-impacted youth in Philadelphia.
ELC co-sponsors legislative summit on youth homelessness
On November 13th, ELC co-sponsored "Homelessness to Hope: Youth and Advocates' Legislative Summit." Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney presented on the implications of ESEA Reauthorization for youth experiencing homelessness. The youth-centered Summit convened to inform legislative leaders and stakeholders about the critical needs of youth experiencing homelessness and urge support for current key legislative reforms. Youth engaged in a direct dialogue with Senator Bob Casey's legislative staff who committed to supporting specific legislation to promote access to educational and housing opportunities. The Summit has served as a catalyst for a coordinated effort to end youth homelessness in Philadelphia through local initiatives to expand access to education, housing and healthcare.
ELC honored to be among GlaxoSmithKline IMPACT award recipients
ELC was honored to accept an award from GlaxoSmithKline US for our work in promoting a healthy Philadelphia through access to quality public education. GSK selected ELC as one of ten organizations in the area " recognized for innovative and transformational programs that make our communities healthier." 
ELC advocates in Washington with civil rights partners
Education Law Center joined civil rights advocacy groups from across the country in Washington D.C. to discuss the school-to-prison pipeline and the inappropriate use of alternative education settings. We also met with the U.S. Department of Education to advocate for a strengthened federal role in ensuring fairness in school discipline in an effort to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside 50 organizations across Pennsylvania, ELC is a leading member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding.  Read more  on our efforts to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where he or she lives. As the budget impasse continues and our schools remain unfunded, we urge you to join the Campaign
December 1 st is #GivingTuesday
December 1st is "Giving Tuesday," a worldwide campaign to support nonprofit organizations that serve communities across the globe. Stay tuned and please consider supporting ELC next week! 

Ensuring access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania
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