ELC in the News

On school funding, Pennsylvania is not doing its job. That’s why we’re in court.

Education Law Center executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote, “All Pennsylvanians need to know that our state is failing by inadequately and inequitably funding our schools. Pennsylvania once made a legislative commitment that 50% of education funding would come from the state ‒ but that commitment was not enforced and was abandoned decades ago.” Read…

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School funding court case about helping students become productive citizens

“In the Pennsylvania’s court system, there is case presently being heard against the government related to school funding. The case is especially important as the outcomes will impact Pennsylvania’s economic standing for years to come.” Read this op-ed by former Pa. Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak.

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Pa. lawmakers have neglected their duty to quality education across the state

ELC’s executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote: “For decades, Pennsylvania lawmakers have shunned their responsibilities when it comes to school funding, severely shortchanging many school districts. The result is grave inequities that have impacted generations of students. In a trial that begins on Nov. 12, a group of petitioners is challenging the state funding system…

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5 takeaways from Pennsylvania’s ongoing, landmark school-funding trial after one month

“Over more than four weeks of testimony, the landmark trial in the challenge to Pennsylvania’s school-funding system has featured superintendents and teachers from rural, urban, and suburban communities describing cash-strapped schools — including Delaware County’s William Penn district — that struggle to meet state academic standards.” Read this recap from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s education reporters.

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Pa. school funding case update

An episode of Smart Talk from WITF (Harrisburg) reviews the status of the school funding court case with guests Mallory Falk, WHYY Philadelphia education reporter; Brenda Marrero, executive director, Public Interest Law Center; and Deborah Gordon Klehr, executive director, Education Law Center – PA.

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“Storage Closets and Locker Rooms Being Used as Classrooms”

Testimony in the Pennsylvania public education funding lawsuit highlighted serious issues facing schools around the Commonwealth. “Witnesses painted a grim picture of what a normal school day looks like for many students throughout Pennsylvania, and how the COVID-19 pandemic made things worse.” Issues dealing with infrastructure like classroom space and capacity, ventilation systems, and more…

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School funding in Pa. is about to go on trial — here’s what you need to know

In 2014, a group of school districts, parents, and advocates embarked on a legal journey that could upend the way Pennsylvania funds its schools. Those petitioners head to court in Harrisburg on Nov. 12. “William Penn School District et al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et al. — colloquially referred to as Pennsylvania’s school funding…

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School Funding Lawsuits Move the Needle on Fairness

Education Law Center executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr wrote about the history of school funding lawsuits that have been filed in dozens of states besides Pennsylvania. “We see from the experience of other states that school funding lawsuits have been strikingly successful at moving the needle toward fairness,” she wrote. “Decisions in such lawsuits spur…

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Historic school funding trial date moved to Oct. 12

There is a new start date for the trial in our historic lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s school funding system. The date is moved back a month to Oct.12. The later date allow superintendents and other petitioners who filed the case against state officials additional time to provide up-to-date specifics to supplement the evidence and testimony gathered…

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ELC Testifies on Barriers to Education Success before PA Senate Education Committee

ELC staff attorney Hetal Dhagat addressed educational barriers that impact Black and Brown students, low-income students, students with disabilities, and immigrant and refugee students in testimony to the PA Senate Education Committee on April 23, 2021. She spoke at a hearing on K-12 education reforms in Western Pennsylvania, the last of three hearings that the…

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Philadelphia Eagles Support ELC with $25K Grant

ELC has received a $25,000 grant from the Philadelphia Eagles Social Justice Fund, through which the Eagles organization provides a one-to-one match to donations by players and staff. Education is one of the Fund’s priorities, and we are thrilled to be able to partner with the Eagles in the important work of ensuring access to…

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Advocating for Legislative Action to Address Underfunding

ELC policy director Reynelle Brown Staley was among the panelists who testified to the Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee public hearing on fair education funding in Coatesville on Aug. 12, attended by over 100 people. Highlighting statements from parents and superintendents across the state, she spoke to the devastating impact of state underinvestment in education, particularly on…

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Lunch-Shaming Must End

In a July 28, 2019, letter to PennLive, ELC legal director Maura McInerney questions new language in the Pennsylvania School Code that allows school districts to serve “alternative lunches” to students whose families have lunch debt. Read her letter.

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Youth in Pa. Residential Institutions: Unsafe, Disconnected, Denied Quality Education

This column by ELC legal director Maura McInerney and Juvenile Law Center staff attorney Kate Burdick highlights the urgent need to address harmful practices in Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice and child welfare residential facilities. Two recent reports laid out the harm being done to children in these placements – and proposed needed reforms, including bringing children…

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ELC Calls on Gov. Wolf to Propose Major Increase in Special Ed Funding

Following on our October report, “Shortchanging Children with Disabilities: State Underfunding of Special Education in Pennsylvania,” the Education Law Center wrote Gov. Tom Wolf in January, urging that his 2019-20 budget proposal include a $400 million increase in state funding for basic education and a $100 million increase in special education funding, to be distributed…

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