Ensuring Equal Access

ELC and Partners Call for Mask Mandate

The Education Law Center, alongside four dozen partner organizations throughout Pennsylvania, called for a universal mask mandate for all Pennsylvania public schools, with appropriate exceptions for students and school staff with qualifying disabilities. You can read the letter to the governor and secretaries of education and health here and the letter to the General Assembly…

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Three new tools to identify and address attendance barriers.

ELC has created three new tools to identify and address attendance barriers. Far too often, we see that families are held accountable for systemic or school-based barriers, instead of receiving needed supports. This set of resources helps families, schools, and Magisterial District Court Judges -the three key players in the truancy context- proactively identify and address attendance…

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Join ELC’s Day of Legislative Action

Join ELC’s Day of Legislative Action to support Senate Bill 324, “Fostering A Smooth Transition for Graduation” This bill supports highly mobile youth through better graduation planning, smooth transfer of academic credits, and targeted educational supports. Sign our letter of support for S.B. 324 using our sign on form. For more information, please see our factsheet or the Bill’s text.  CALL YOUR STATE SENATORS ! Tell your legislator that…

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Show Your Support For Senate Bill 324: “Fostering a Smooth Transition for Graduation”

Please join ELC in advocating for the passage of important legislation, S.B. 324, to advance the educational rights of Pennsylvania students with experience in the foster care and juvenile justice systems and students experiencing homelessness. The bill, “Fostering a Smooth Transition for Graduation,” ensures these highly mobile youth receive credit for academic work completed, obtain…

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Help Make PA Schools More Supportive of Immigrant, Refugee Families

Do you want to help make your school district more welcoming and supportive for immigrant and refugee students and families?  Education Law Center is partnering with the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition (PICC) to collect anonymous and confidential responses from immigrant and refugee students in grades 4-12 and parents with children in grades K-12 to…

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COVID-19 – Information on Supporting Older Youth

This publication aims to give you concrete tips and resources so that you can play a vital role in supporting young people in Pennsylvania during the COVID 19 crisis so they can stay healthy and maintain their educational success.

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ELC Applauds U.S. DOJ Agreement to Overhaul PA’s Alternative Education Programs to Protect Students with Disabilities and English Learners but Says Agreement Ignores Racial Disparities

  The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a comprehensive agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), settling a federal civil rights investigation triggered by the Education Law Center’s 2013 complaint challenging discriminatory practices in the state’s disciplinary “alternative education” programs.  Read ELC’s full news release here. The programs covered by the agreement are…

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Improving Supports for Philadelphia’s 15,000 English Learner Students

In January 2019 testimony about English learners to the Philadelphia school board’s Student Achievement and Support Committee, Education Law Center Legal Director Maura McInerney brought attention to reductions in ESL instruction and support, barriers to special education evaluations and services, the failure to provide interpretation and translation services, and lack of access to special admission schools and…

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ELC and CASA Philadelphia Webinar for Educational Decision Makers (EDMs)

This webinar was hosted by the Education Law Center-PA and CASA Philadelphia as a training for court-appointed Educational Decision Makers (EDMs) who represent children in foster care to ensure their access to a quality public education. The presentation features an overview of an “EDM Toolkit” prepared by these agencies and includes education issues relating to enrollment, access to special education services,…

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ELC Joins Civil Rights Organizations in Issuing New Report Challenging Curtailment of Important Protections for Children of Color

ELC joined more than a dozen other civil rights organizations in releasing a new report highlighting the ways the Trump Administration is aggressively and intentionally limiting the civil rights protections of children and youth of color in schools. The Report was prepared by the Civil Rights Roundtable, a national coalition of organizations and academic professionals…

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PDE Widens Investigation and Remedy For Young Children With Disabilities Transitioning to Kindergarten in Philadelphia

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has significantly broadened its corrective action in response to ELC’s administrative complaint alleging that the School District of Philadelphia denied young children with disabilities timely evaluations and special education services upon transitioning to Kindergarten or First Grade.  In its prior Complaint Investigation Report (“CIR”) PDE required the District to…

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Open Letter to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on Charter School Equity

The Education Law Center sent an open letter to Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission expressing renewed concern about issues of equity and universal access at Philadelphia charter schools. Data from the District’s Annual Charter Evaluations indicate that vulnerable student populations are underserved by the charter sector. The letter endorses the School District’s efforts to build a…

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ELC Files Amicus Brief in PA Superior Court Bullying Case

The Education Law Center (ELC) has filed an amicus brief in Nicole B. v. School District of Philadelphia, et al., a case involving a Philadelphia student who was relentlessly bullied because of his race and nonconformance with gender stereotypes; the school failed to intervene and allowed the bullying to escalate from verbal harassment, to multiple…

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ELC Files Comments with the US Commission on Civil Rights Emphasizing the Importance of Federal Guidance and Regulations Designed to Protect Students of Color with Disabilities from Discrimination.

On January 16, 2018, ELC submitted comments to the US Commission on Civil Rights to highlight the fundamental importance of federal guidance and regulations in protecting the education rights of students of color who have disabilities.   Citing data showing significant and continuing disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes due to discrimination on the basis of…

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ELC Seeks to Ensure Greater Access to Special Admission / Magnet Schools and Programs for English Learners in Philadelphia

On November 1, in a letter to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission, ELC is requesting revision to the School District of Philadelphia’s proposed new Language Instruction Policy.  ELC asks that the policy specifically reference LeGare protections that permit English Learner students to obtain modifications and waivers to access specialized programs and schools. Read ELC’s letter requesting…

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Pa. Department of Education finds Philadelphia School District Violated Rights of at least 800 Children Starting Kindergarten

The Education Law Center has successfully filed a complaint against the School District of Philadelphia on behalf of hundreds of students with disabilities who were not provided with needed services after entering kindergarten or first-grade. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has issued corrective action in response to the complaint, requiring the School District of Philadelphia…

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