ELC in the News

Opposition Brief to Mootness Application Filed in School Funding Case

Funding gaps between high-wealth and low-wealth districts are growing, and state funding for classroom expenses has declined over four years. Those are key points in our latest brief in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court case filed by parents, school districts, and two statewide associations challenging Pennsylvania’s broken school funding system. In May, the Court directed the…

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Education Law Center Applauds Change in Philadelphia’s Student Discipline Policy

ELC has long advocated for alternatives to out-of-school suspensions of young children; they are not age-appropriate and do not make schools safer. Suspensions of kindergartners were banned in Philadelphia in 2016. The District’s School Reform Commission in June 2018 formally changed the School District’s student conduct and discipline policy, extending the existing ban on out-of-school…

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School Funding Lawsuit Advances

On May 7, 2018, the Commonwealth Court overruled objections filed by state legislative leaders and moved our school funding lawsuit closer to trial. Read about the Court’s decision and our next steps for resolving underfunding and gross inequalities in Pennsylvania’s schools.

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Commonwealth Court Holds Oral Argument in ELC’s Funding Case

Not even a snowstorm could halt the momentum of ELC’s Fair Funding Lawsuit, as advocates from ELC, PILC, and pro bono counsel O’Melveny and Myers argued today that objections filed by the defendants were without merit and should be dismissed, allowing the case to move to discovery and trial.  Details, including links to news coverage…

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ELC Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr Elected to Membership in the American Law Institute

On October 24, The American Law Institute  announced the election of 37 new members nationwide, including ELC’s Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr. The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.  “This latest group of new members exemplifies the diversity in perspective…

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Advocates Condemn Anti-LGBTQ Action

Education Law Center, PFLAG Pittsburgh, and SisTers PGH released a joint statement on October 5, 2017, in response to planned protests in Allegheny County by the anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church.  Read the statement here.  

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Refugee education lawsuit will cost Lancaster schools more than $600K next year

by Emily Previti, WITF The city of Lancaster resettles a lot of refugees for a community of its size, and various stakeholders have long collaborated with the district for school-based programs designed to help entire families from this vulnerable population. So when the School District of Lancaster was sued one year ago, officials argued that they — not…

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Local advocates brace for changes in federal education civil rights policy

“I don’t think districts are off the hook from following civil rights laws.”  Deborah Gordon Klehr, ELC Executive Director 7/17/2017 by Darryl C. Murphy, published in The Philadelphia School Notebook Local advocates and civil rights leaders are preparing to be more watchful in response to the decision under the Trump administration to scale back the U.S. Department of…

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City’s public schools, education beneficiaries of new state budget

by Stacy M. Brown, Philadelphia Tribune, Jul 8, 2017 After state lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a $32 billion budget that still has no defined plan in which to pay for it, many around the commonwealth have hailed the spending plan as a victory for public schools and for early childhood and special education. Local lawmakers added that it’s…

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School Reform Commission approves new in-house special education program: The District downscaled the proposal after advocates complained, but concerns linger.

July 6, 2017 — Philadelphia Public School Notebook — by Dale Mezzacappa and Avi Wolfman-Arent The School Reform Commission voted Thursday to establish a new in-house special education program for 100 students, most diagnosed with social-emotional disabilities and now placed in facilities run by Wordsworth. The new program will be run initially by the private education…

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Editorial: School funding inequity in Pa. is shameful

May 8, 2017 – by the Pottstown Mercury Editorial Board This newspaper has long been at the forefront of the argument for fair schools funding in Pennsylvania, arguing that the state Constitution guarantees every child a quality education regardless of wealth or address.

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Advocates want the district to end suspensions of elementary school students

May 3, 2017 – WHYY Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane Last year, the Philadelphia School District ended most out-of-school suspensions for kindergartners. However, thousands of elementary school children—first through fifth grade—are still being suspended. Schools have zero-tolerance policies for violent behavior, but most suspensions are for nonviolent offenses.

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