Education Law Center

September News: ELC celebrates 41 years; PA Supreme Court hears argument; ELC welcomes new staff
ELC celebrates 41 years of advocacy, honors education
champions
Y esterday, ELC was thrilled to host our 2016 Annual Celebration at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia, where we celebrated our achievements and honored  Pepper Hamilton LLP,  Signe Wilkinson, and  Dr. Monique W. Morris and  presented ELC's Pro Bono Award to Paul Saint-Antoine and Chanda Miller of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. 

Thank you to the many donors and supporters of the event! We couldn't do our work without your generosity. 
Attorneys on the case from ELC, Public Interest Law Center, and O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears oral argument in fair education funding lawsuit
Oral argument in our education funding case took place before Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on September 13. Hundreds of parents, students, superintendents, and school board members, including advocates from as far away as Erie and Pittsburgh, crowded the halls of Philadelphia City Hall and waited in line to attend the argument.
ELC welcomes two new attorneys to our staff


Sean J. McGrath, Esq. has joined ELC as a 2016 Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellow. His work centers on the representation of at-risk children to better access early intervention and early education services in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties. Sean graduated from the Penn State Schreyer Honors College and received his JD from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. 
Third Circuit denies Lancaster School District's request in case on the rights of older immigrant students
Alongside the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Pepper Hamilton LLP, ELC sued the School District of Lancaster alleging that the District violated the rights of older immigrant students with limited English proficiency by diverting them to an inferior, privately-operated alternative school. Last month, the court ordered the District to immediately transfer the named plaintiff refugee students to the District's main high school. The case is continuing as the District has appealed the order. However, we are pleased that the Third Circuit just denied the District's request to stay the court's order pending appeal.
Argument heard in ELC case seeking remedy for limited English proficient parents of students with disabilities
Oral argument was held this week in T.R. et. al. v. School District of Philadelphia, a federal class action lawsuit we filed last year with the Public Interest Law Center and Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. The case was filed on behalf of limited English proficient parents of students with disabilities who are illegally denied the opportunity to participate in the special education process due to the absence of adequate interpretation and translation services that deny them meaningful participation in the special education process. The Department of Justice, which filed a Statement of Interest in support of our position, also participated in the argument and urged the Court to hear our claims.
ELC case leads to policy reform at the intersection of ESL, disability, and school discipline in Pittsburgh Public Schools
With our collaborators, ELC is working to implement strategic reforms stemming from a number of cases. Most significantly, Pittsburgh Public Schools agreed to convene a working group to address the policy and procedures in the District to ensure that Limited English Proficient parents and students receive the translation and interpretation services to which they are entitled in both special education and school discipline matters. This working group - half parents and advocates, convened by ELC, and half school personnel - had its first meeting this month. The group will meet three more times before making a formal presentation and recommendations to the PPS Board of Education. 
Dr. Rucker Johnson joins ELC, Campaign for Fair Education Funding to discuss the benefits of sustained education investments
On September 19 and 20, ELC and the Campaign for Fair Education Funding brought UC Berkeley economist Dr. Rucker Johnson to Philadelphia and Harrisburg to present on his research on the long-term economic benefits of sustained investment in education, including Head Start and K-12 programs in high-poverty areas. Dr. Johnson was well-received at Philadelphia City Hall and spoke alongside Mayor Kenney, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Dr. Bill Hite, and state senator Vince Hughes. He then presented in Harrisburg with ELC Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr at the PA Chamber of Business and Industry education symposium.   
ELC joins legal coalition urging federal government to issue stronger guidance on school resource officers
ELC has joined a number of national civil rights organizations to write to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, urging them to issue stronger legal guidance on the use of school police that would clarify the civil rights protections of students, especially students of color and students with disabilities. ELC remains troubled by t he ongoing presence of police officers in schools when resources ought to be directed to counselors, social workers, and other child-serving professionals.
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside 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 Codes: 1873 (Southeastern PA); 4547 (Allegheny County)

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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