Ensuring Equal Access

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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Join the Education Law Center in supporting The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act and The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017

Join the Education Law Center in supporting The Higher Education Access and Success for Homeless and Foster Youth Act (HEASHFY) and The Fostering Success in Higher Education Act of 2017 (FSHEA). Passage of these new bills will mean that youth who are homeless and those who are from the foster care system will be able to…

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ELC files PDE complaint to remedy deficiencies in transition of students from Early Intervention to Philadelphia elementary schools

ELC filed an administrative complaint with the PA Department of Education (“PDE”) on behalf of three individual children and all others similarly situated who have been deprived of smooth transitions to kindergarten or first grade in the School District of Philadelphia (“District”).  State and federal law mandates that children with disabilities must move from early…

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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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OCDEL Releases Two New Policy Announcements to Address Exclusionary Discipline and Promote Inclusion in Early Childhood Learning Programs

ELC praises the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) for release of two new policy announcements that now make clear its commitment to decrease exclusionary discipline and increase inclusion in all its early childhood learning programs across Pennsylvania. With ELC’s leadership and support for public comments and extensive parent, provider, and community engagement, OCDEL…

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