October 2018
Action Alert: Vote is Imminent on Bill to Support Education Success for Youth in Foster Care
Help us ensure the passage of HB 1745 , the Fostering Independence Through Education Act . Pennsylvania is one of 22 states that doesn’t provide tuition waivers for youth in foster care to cover college costs. HB 1745 provides tuition waivers and other support for youth in foster care who attend state schools and community colleges in PA. The bill was approved unanimously in the Pennsylvania House. Today it passed another big hurdle, winning approval from Pennsylvania's Senate Education Committee! We need your help to ensure that the whole Senate follows suit before they leave Harrisburg this month.

Call your state senator and say: “Please support HB 1745, the Fostering Independence Through Education Act . ​​​ Our youth in foster care should have an opportunity for higher education success, and HB 1745 will make a positive difference in their lives.” More on the bill here .
ELC Celebrates 43 Years of Advocacy!
ELC celebrated its 43rd anniversary on September 26 at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia. Thank you to everyone who joined us as we honored education champions GSK, Kevin Bethel, The Attic Youth Center, and Dechert LLP pro bono counsel Amy Ufberg, Marissa Tribuiani, and Michelle Nguyen. Thanks to your support, we are able to continue working to ensure that all children in Pennsylvania have access to quality public education. If you were not able to join us, there is still time to support our work!
Third Annual Equity Summit in Pittsburgh: Advancing Equity for Black Girls
ELC was pleased to work with the Black Girls Equity Alliance (BGEA) to convene the Third Annual Equity Summit , which brought together local and national experts focused on advancing equity for Black girls in Pittsburgh. ELC partnered with the Alliance and helped organize the plenary panel “Let Her Learn: How to Combat Race and Gender Bias in School Dress Codes” along with our partners from Communities for Just Schools Fund, National Women’s Law Center, and Pittsburgh Public Schools.
From Left to Right: Melissa Friez, Adaku Onyeka-Crawford, Auja Diggs, Thena Robinson Mock. Not pictured: ELC’s Pittsburgh Director Nancy Hubley, who co-organized the panel, but was out of town for the arrival of her new grandchild! 
DeVos Wants to Allow Federal Funds to Arm School Personnel, but Opposition Grows
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a broad, national coalition of civil rights groups, is leading opposition to an announcement by US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that states and districts are free to earmark federal “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) funds to purchase firearms and firearms training for schools. Education Law Center was one of more than 100 organizational signers of a September 17 joint letter arguing that this is not an appropriate use of “Student Support and Academic Enrichment” grant dollars overseen by the US Department of Education. The letter states: “The Department must immediately publicly clarify that ESSA funds cannot be used for weapons .” Congressional Democrats plan to push for a ban on the use of these grant funds for weapons.
Forum on Education of Immigrant Students
ELC’s Equal Justice Works Fellow Jackie Perlow participated in a September 4 panel discussion hosted by 90.5 WESA (Pittsburgh’s NPR news station) on the educational experiences of immigrant and refugee students in Allegheny County. Along with a local ESL teacher and our partners at All for All and ARYSE, Jackie spoke about the education rights of English learners and the unique barriers facing limited English proficient students and families in Western Pennsylvania. You can listen to the panel discussion here .
ELC In the News: Truancy and Residential Placements
ELC Legal Director Maura McInerney was quoted in a recent Inquirer feature article exploring the experience of youth who land in restrictive residential placements due to truancy. The article highlighted ELC’s complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, challenging the bullying and harassment of students with disabilities, many of whom were inappropriately diverted to truancy court. 
Sandra Bloom, Expert on Impact of Trauma, Meets with ELC Staff
Dr. Sandra Bloom, a professor at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health and a leading expert on the development of nonviolent environments and trauma-informed practice, recently met with ELC staff to help inform our practices and understanding of the clients we serve. She spoke with staff about the relevance of trauma in our work and practices that may be implemented in schools to make them places that are both less likely to cause trauma and more likely to ameliorate the effects of any external trauma students may have experienced. She emphasized the importance of participatory processes in classrooms and discipline, as well as the importance of honoring the emotions of all students and staff within a school building.
Building Awareness of Educational Rights of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
Every year, thousands of youth in the juvenile justice system return to their home schools and often find themselves academically behind. As part of the Legal Center for Youth Justice and Education , ELC staff presented at Delaware’s Juvenile Justice Conference last month on important new protections for youth in the juvenile justice system under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The presentation highlighted model laws and policies from around the country to reduce barriers to school success for youth returning from the juvenile justice system.
Opening the Schoolhouse Door
ELC staff worked tirelessly during the month of September to ensure that vulnerable students entered school on time and in the right classroom. We advocated on behalf of children experiencing homelessness who were turned away because they lacked a permanent address, immigrant families who were denied interpretation services, children living in group homes who were denied immediate enrollment or erroneously placed on homebound instruction, and children with disabilities who were sitting out of school waiting for an appropriate placement. We also worked to disseminate resources for the back-to-school season for families who may have questions. View our Back-to-School Guide here .
New Faces in Our Philadelphia Office
ELC welcomes three law students as interns this semester. Chanelle Jones and Anastasia Blakley are students at Temple University, and Lelabari Giwa-Ojuri is a student at the University of Pennsylvania. This summer, we also welcomed Roseann Liu, Visiting Assistant Professor of Education at Swarthmore College, who continues to provide volunteer support for our communications team this year. We are grateful for the support!
We're Hiring!
ELC has full-time openings for a Staff Attorney in Pittsburgh and for a Paralegal/Intake Coordinator and a Director of Finance and Operations in Philadelphia.

ELC is accepting applications for law student interns during the 2019 Spring semester and 2019 Summer.

For more information on these opportunities, please  see our website .
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Education Law Center | 215-238-6970 (Philadelphia)| 412-258-2120 (Pittsburgh)|
A copy of the official registration and financial information of the Education Law Center may be obtained from the Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-880-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.