Open Letter to PA Special Education Funding Commission from PA Schools Work Campaign

The Special Education Funding Commission of the Pennsylvania legislature reconvened August 27, 2019, for the first time in nearly six years to examine the impact of the 2014 funding formula that now directs state special education funding. Education Law Center joined with the statewide PA Schools Work campaign to issue an open letter with a set of recommendations to the commission for addressing the continued state underfunding of education.

Over the past decade, the state’s contribution to special education costs has dropped from a one-third share to just 22%. The letter urges a “fuller and fairer allocation of funding for special education.” The commission will be meeting and holding hearings over a three-month period.

Read the letter.

New! 2019 Back-to-School Guide

As students head back to school, Education Law Center (ELC) has compiled and updated a number of “Back-to-School” resources and reminders about laws and policies that families and schools should be aware of this year.

If you have questions about a particular issue at your school, please call ELC’s helpline at 215-238-6970 (Eastern/Central PA) or 412-258-2120 (Western PA).

Education Law Center Applauds Gov. Wolf’s Call for Charter Reform

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced August 13 that he is preparing to introduce regulations and propose new legislation governing the state’s charter schools. The Education Law Center shares his sense of urgency in addressing the issues of poor academic performance, equity concerns, and rapidly growing costs of charters and looks forward to working with state officials to implement changes that rectify these problems. Our statement is here.

Save the Date! ELC Fall Celebration: Fighting the Good Fight

Please join us at 5:30 PM on September 25, 2019, at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia as we celebrate our work ensuring access to quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania.

We hope you will join us and our event co-chairs, Joan Mazzotti and Michael Kelly, to honor our 2019 Champions of Education, including:

  • Jamilia Blake, Ph.D. and Rebecca Epstein, Esq., authors of Girlhood Interrupted: the Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood, a leading report on the adultification bias facing Black girls.
  • Bentley Systems, Incorporated, a global software development company focused on sustaining the world’s infrastructure, with a demonstrated and passionate commitment to STEM education programs for elementary school students in Pennsylvania.  
  • Opera Philadelphia, one of the most innovative opera companies in the nation that also addresses the gap in arts education and access in the Greater Philadelphia region through an intensive, in-school, literacy-based music education program and robust after-school programs.
  • Pro Bono Honorees Jennifer Fox Rabold, Esq. and Susie Kernen of FedEx Ground, for their work administering a trust on behalf of children living in a group home who had been denied access to an appropriate education.

If you would like to speak with an ELC staff member regarding buying tickets or sponsoring ELC’s event, please contact Allegra Abramson at (215) 278-9765 or [email protected]. Otherwise, please visit our ticket site below:

Click Here for Tickets

Governor’s Executive Order Calls for Reform of Residential Placements: A Joint Statement With Juvenile Law Center

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order on July 31, creating a new Office of Advocacy and Reform, with a new Child Advocate position to act as an ombudsman for youth in the state’s residential facilities. The order establishes a 25-member Council on Reform, tasked with developing a report and recommendations by Nov. 1 to ensure the safety and support of children and adults in residential care. ELC and Juvenile Law Center issued a joint statement supporting the governor’s action and highlighting the importance of reducing reliance on residential placements and providing a quality education for children placed in such settings.