Education Law Center

August news: Victory for immigrant students; new restrictions on suspensions; and PA Supreme Court hearing on school funding
Victory! Judge rules in favor of our clients and directs Lancaster schools to admit older immigrant students
Following a five-day trial, a federal judge ruled that the School District of Lancaster violated the rights of older immigrant students with limited English proficiency when it diverted them to an inferior, privately operated alternative school. The court ordered the school district to immediately transfer the refugee students to the District's main high school.  This decision resulted from a lawsuit brought by the Education Law Center, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and pro bono counsel Pepper Hamilton LLP on behalf of a group of refugee students from Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Burma who fled war, violence, and persecution in their native countries.
ELC convinces Philadelphia to restrict suspensions for kindergartners and revise dress code
After continued pressure from ELC and other advocates, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission made a decision this month  to restrict the use of suspensions against Kindergarten students and to adopt a revised dress code policy that removes subjective language which disproportionately impacted students of color, especially black girls.
ELC commends the SRC for this decision, but as ELC testified, it does not go far enough; the District should restrict the use of suspensions for students in first and second grade, too.
Oral argument in PA Supreme Court to be held September 13
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court will hear oral argument in our landmark education funding lawsuit on September 13, 2016, in its Philadelphia courtroom. The Education Law Center and the Public Interest Law Center originally filed this suit in Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court in November 2014. Now, nearly two years later, we will be arguing to the state's highest court that Pennsylvania's General Assembly has failed to uphold its constitutional obligation to provide a "thorough and efficient" system of public education. Please join us on September 13th in Philadelphia to support this crucial case!
ELC to join Mayor Kenney, Council President Clarke, and UC-Berkeley economist Rucker Johnson at City Hall
Please join Mayor Jim Kenney, City Council President Darrell Clarke, and the Education Law Center at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall on September 19. We will be joined by economist and UC-Berkeley professor Rucker Johnson, who will discuss his recent national research which finds that sustained investment in education produces long-term economic benefits for communities. This event will be hosted in the Mayor's Reception Room in City Hall.  Please RSVP to Caitlyn Boyle at
At task force's urging, Pittsburgh schools elevate Director of Special Education to Superintendent's cabinet
As a result of ELC's ongoing consultation and collaboration with the Pittsburgh Local Task Force, we are pleased to report that the new Superintendent adopted the Task Force's recommendation that the Director of Special Education Services position be elevated to a cabinet position in his administration. This is a small step for the school district but a giant leap towards ensuring that children with disabilities are included in all district-wide initiatives and that their voices - and those of their parents and teachers - are heard at the highest level in the District. 
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.
ELC settlement creates policy group to improve educational access for students learning English and parents with limited English proficiency
As a result of a recent settlement of a special education case involving an English language learner, the Pittsburgh Public Schools agreed to convene a working group of parents, students, advocates and school personnel, including both special education and English as a Second Language personnel, to work to ensure parents with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to translation and interpretation of special education documents and proceedings in their preferred language or mode of communication. The working group will convene four times over the course of the school year and will culminate in formal policy and practice recommendations to be considered by the School Board.
Our annual celebration is just one month away!
ELC invites you to join us for our Annual Celebration on September 29 in Philadelphia. We are pleased to announce that this year's event will honor outstanding champions in the fight to ensure access to quality public education for every student:
  • Pepper Hamilton LLP, for the firm's commitment to Pennsylvania's public school students and years of engagement with ELC; 
  • Signe Wilkinson, the Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist best known for her work at the Philadelphia Daily News, Inquirer and; and 
  • Dr. Monique W. Morris, author, professor, and social justice scholar; co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute and author of Push-Out: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools.
We will also present ELC's Pro Bono Award to: Paul Saint-Antoine and Chanda Miller, attorneys at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, who have dedicated countless pro bono hours as we together help clients facing illegal school barriers to education. Please click below to purchase tickets or sponsor our Annual Celebration.
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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