Equal Access Sidebar

Child Advocates Request Special Education Funding

Child advocates from across Pennsylvania sent a letter to the General Assembly in April 2021 advocating for a $200 million increase for special education funding in the 2021-22 budget and asking the legislature to close the charter school special education funding loophole.

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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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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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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 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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OCR Opens Investigation into Claims of Discrimination against School District of Philadelphia for Failing to Address Bullying of Children with Disabilities

On November 28, 2017, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) announced that it has opened an investigation into claims of discrimination filed by the Education Law Center-PA (“ELC”) regarding the School District of Philadelphia’s treatment of children with disabilities who have been bullied and harassed. ELC’s Complaint, filed July 27,…

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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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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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