Education Law Center

July News:  New lawsuit demanding access to education, new budget, and new Fellows
ELC files federal class action lawsuit against district refusing to enroll immigrant students
The Education Law Center, along with the ACLU of Pennsylvania and Pepper Hamilton LLP, filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging that the School District of Lancaster has been illegally refusing to enroll older immigrant students with limited English proficiency (LEP) or diverting them to an inferior private school that does not offer any programs for LEP students. ELC Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney stated "we are asking the court to uphold the clear right of these children to a meaningful and equal education in their few remaining school years-to give them the chance to learn English and build essential skills and knowledge." The plaintiffs include six refugee students aged 17-21 from Somalia, Sudan, DRC and Burma, who have fled war, violence and persecution in their native countries. 
ELC: 2016-2017 budget falls short of long term needs of Pennsylvania's children
In a statement on the recent completion of the 2016-2017 Pennsylvania budget, ELC Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr said:
"While we are encouraged that this year's recently approved state budget with accompanying revenue will include an additional $200 million in funding for basic education, $20 million in special education, and $30 million in early education, this increase still falls far short of what our children need... [and will] prevent schools from making important investments to improve student performance in the long term."

ELC continues to advocate for proper funding for schools as we pursue our fair funding lawsuit and prepare for oral argument before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on September 13, 2016. 
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 welcomes two new Fellows to our staff
We're excited to welcome two new Fellows to the Education Law Center's staff.

Michaela Ward joins ELC as a Haverford House Fellow and will spend the next year working on school funding research and policy, with a focus on education inequality in Philadelphia. Michaela is a recent graduate of Haverford College with degrees in English and Psychology.

Roderick Cook
joins ELC as a Philly Fellow and will be coordinating ELC's Homeless Education Advocacy Program, concentrating on building ELC's capacity to serve youth experiencing homelessness through legal clinics, advocacy trainings, listening sessions, and more. Roderick is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies. 
ELC advocates for 8th grader with disabilities-results in court's dismissal of truancy citation
ELC recently represented "Cory," an 8th grade student with disabilities who was cited for truancy. Even though Cory received special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), his school called the police when Cory displayed behavioral difficulties in the classroom. Frightened by the school's response, Cory refused to attend school. After we advocated for Cory at two hearings, the truancy court dismissed the matter based on a record of improved attendance. ELC then pushed for a Functional Behavior Assessment that would identify appropriate responses to Cory's behavior. The District plans to implement these responses to support his attendance and comfort in school moving forward.
Forums to be held throughout the state on discipline policy for early education 
Last month, as a result of ELC's advocacy and the advocacy of our partner organizations, Pennsylvania's State Interagency Coordinating Council passed a formal resolution calling for the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to adopt comprehensive policies increasing inclusion and limiting the use of exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, in early learning programs across the state.  OCDEL will be holding policy forums around the state to provide educators, advocates, policy makers and other stakeholders with an opportunity give input and feedback on these polices and related issues. The forums will take place next month, from August 16th to the 24th.
You're Invited to the Education Law Center's Annual Celebration on September 29!
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 donate to 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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