January News: ELC stands with refugee and immigrant families; Betsy DeVos unfit for Secretary of Education; advocating against exclusionary discipline in Pa.
ELC stands with our refugee and immigrant families; Third Circuit victory allows older immigrant youth to attend school
Issa, et al., v. School District of Lancaster, a class action lawsuit ELC originally filed with the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Pepper Hamilton LLP in July 2016, alleged that the School District of Lancaster violated the civil rights of older immigrant students under the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA) by diverting them to an inferior, privately operated alternative school that failed to address their significant language needs. Yesterday, the Third Circuit affirmed the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's order granting a preliminary injunction directing the School District to immediately enroll and educate named student plaintiffs in the regular high school. The underlying case is ongoing. The ruling is significant because it establishes the Third Circuit's standard for evaluating EEOA claims asserted on behalf of English language learners and advances the educational rights of immigrant students. 
ELC: Immigrant students need better policies, supports
The Philadelphia Public School Notebook published ELC Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney's testimony from last week's Town Hall meeting in Philadelphia on the needs of immigrant students. The event was co-sponsored by City Councilwoman Helen Gym and the School District of Philadelphia. 
ELC: DeVos unfit for U.S. Secretary of Education
Education Law Center Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr issued the following statement in response to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP)'s confirmation of Betsy DeVos to lead to the federal Department of Education:

Betsy DeVos' total lack of experience with public education and her disregard for federal civil rights protections for students give us grave concern for the future of our most vulnerable children. At Education Law Center, we are dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to a quality public education. The confirmation vote out of the HELP Committee was incredibly close and we must voice how detrimental Betsy DeVos will be for our public school children. We urge you to call Senator Toomey, a key vote in confirmation or rejection, and tell him to vote "no" on Betsy DeVos when the vote comes to the full Senate. Senator Toomey's office information can be found
here .
Education Law Center has also joined with civil rights groups across the country to voice our concerns about the records of both Senator Sessions and Betsy DeVos.
ELC: End exclusionary discipline in Pa., starting in preschool
ELC has long worked to reduce the overuse of exclusionary discipline across Pennsylvania, which we know disproportionately impacts students of color and students with disabilities and is harmful to all children. In light of Pittsburgh Public Schools' new report on the "extraordinarily high" rates of suspensions and expulsions in Pittsburgh, ELC's Pittsburgh Director Nancy Hubley wrote a letter to the editor in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette highlighting how critical it is to reduce exclusionary discipline in Pennsylvania.  
ELC joins Philadelphia panel on promising practices for youth in foster care 
ELC Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney joined Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym and Juvenile Law Center to present on new and promising practices to improve educational outcomes for children in the foster care system. The panel was part of the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Philadelphia's spring speaker series. 
New resource: Toolkit for states implementing new federal education law's foster care provisions
ELC, as a part of the Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, has released a new resource for states implementing the 2015 Every Students Succeeds Act's new provisions regarding students in foster care. This toolkit is based on the Legal Center's work helping a number of jurisdictions implement the new law. The toolkit contains summaries of federal guidance, model policy documents, and frequently asked questions. 
What we're reading...
  • An interview in NPR's "FreshAir" explains how individual choices and racist policies allow for segregation in today's schools.
  • A story from Newsworks WHYY that followed a field trip for students from Philadelphia to the suburbs to see 'how the other half learns.'
  • Another review of some of the concerns education advocates have on Betsy DeVos's nomination for Education Secretary.
  • A story in the Philadelphia Inquirer covers the disturbing 94% drop in public school librarians in Pennsylvania from 1991 to 2015. 
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside more than 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.
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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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