Underfunded: Inside the fight to fairly fund Pennsylvania public schools
Earlier this month, we learned that the trial in our historic case challenging Pennsylvania's school funding system is on track to begin this September. If you’re looking for a deep dive into what the General Assembly's state underfunding looks like inside PA public schools, where it’s headed, and how our students got shortchanged in the first place, look no further: There’s a podcast for that. This month, we launched "Underfunded: Inside The Fight To Fairly Fund Public Schools In Pennsylvania," hosted by education journalists Meg St-Esprit and Melanie Bavaria.

Episode 1 is out now, with new episodes coming every two weeks. Pennsylvania's General Assembly has no goal of ensuring that public schools are fully funded. That, plus an unfair system for splitting a pot that's too small, pits school districts against each other. In "The Hunger Games," teachers and advocates explore how this zero-sum competition holds students back and perpetuates inequality.

Follow this link to learn more and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts..
Share your school funding story with us
With students' day in court coming this year, it's more important than ever to make it clear to our leaders in Harrisburg that Pennsylvanians do not accept this status quo, where students who need the most get the least, because of where they live. You can help. How has public school underfunding affected you and your community? Share your story to help us spread the word.
Take action to Level Up support for Pennsylvania's most underfunded public schools
Pennsylvania has some of the largest resource gaps between school districts in the country, with the wealthiest districts spending $4,800 more per student than the poorest. If we believe that all students deserve the support they need to reach their potential, we must address these disparities head-on. Level Up PA, a new proposal introduced by State Rep. Mike Schlossberg as House Bill 1167, would accelerate funding to the 100 most underfunded districts in the state, who have been shortchanged for years. These districts, located in all four corners of the commonwealth, educate 65% of Pennsylvania's Black students, 58% of our state's Latino students, and 58% of students in poverty.

“As a student, this proposal could get me one more class I’m passionate about, one more librarian to check out my books, one more guidance counselor to talk to, and one more fighting chance for success,” William Penn student Victoria Monroe said at a press conference announcing the proposal. “Every Pennsylvania student deserves that.”

Use this tool to contact your state lawmakers and tell them to support HB 1167 to Level Up school funding for deeply underfunded districts across the state.
Join us May 4 for Redistricting and Gerrymandering: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
2021 is critical for our political future: state and federal legislative districts will be redrawn, and the Pennsylvania General Assembly is considering a harmful constitutional amendment that would give legislators, for the first time, power to draw districts for electing state appellate court judges. How can citizens get involved to ensure that district lines are fairly drawn?

Join the Take Action Philly coalition and the Philadelphia Bar Association on May 4 for an expert panel discussion on how redistricting works, political and prison gerrymandering, and the potential impact of the radical proposal for regional appellate court districts. Our staff attorney Ben Geffen will be a panelist, along with representatives from Common Cause PA, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, Villanova University, Penn Law, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Free registration and more information here.

When: Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 4:00-5:30 p.m..

Where: Online webinar

Law Center in the News: People with disabilities must be part of public health discussion
In an April 11 piece for Lancaster Online, Professor Dennis Downey highlighted the importance of considering the needs of people with disabilities when working to promote public health--and their relative absence from the conversation during COVID-19. Professor Downey is the chair of our Disability Rights Policy Circle, which helps identify the urgent unmet needs of persons with disabilities and ways they could be addressed by high-impact litigation and advocacy. He highlights delays in releasing public health information for group homes serving adults with disabilities, silo effects between different state and local agencies, and the heightened risk that many people with disabilities face from COVID-19.

"We are all bound in a single garment of destiny, a web of mutuality that bears on the social and medical realities affecting public health," Downey wrote. "A well-managed county public health agency that includes disability advocates and self-advocates, and takes their health needs seriously, would be of enormous benefit to individuals and the county as a whole."

Learn More. Professor Downey discussed the issue on an April 23 episode of WITF's Smart Talk.
We're hiring!
We are seeking applications for a program coordinator, with both paralegal and organizational functions, to serve as critical support to our day to day operations and overall mission.

The program coordinator provides administrative support for the office staff, everyone from attorneys to the development team to the Executive Director. The ideal candidate for this position would be someone who is nimble and a creative thinker, with special attention to detail and deadlines, who is comfortable with technology leveraging data. Excellent time management skills are a must. Learn More