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ELC’s 2020 Back-to-School Guide for Pennsylvania Public School Students

The Education Law Center (ELC) has updated our “Back-to-School” guide for families, students, and schools. The information and fact sheets below now include COVID-related considerations for the upcoming school year. School days during the pandemic may look very different. Students and families face unprecedented challenges. But they continue to have important education rights and protections under…

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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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Education Law Center Recent Successes

ELC’s work is organized around three priority areas: fighting for fair funding, ensuring equal access, and stopping the school-to-prison pipeline. We have made important progress in those areas in recent months. Read more about our work and highlights of the past year.

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New! 2019 Back-to-School Guide

As students head back to school, Education Law Center (ELC) has compiled and updated a number of “Back-to-School” resources and reminders about laws and policies that families and schools should be aware of this year. If you have questions about a particular issue at your school, please call ELC’s helpline at 215-238-6970 (Eastern/Central PA) or…

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Funding Increases in PA Budget Are Welcomed but Not Sufficient, ELC Says

The tentative budget agreement between Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf and legislative leaders that was announced on June 24 includes a significant boost in special education funding. There are other bright spots in the budget, but state education funding still falls far below what is needed. ELC executive director Deborah Gordon Klehr issued a statement on the…

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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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ELC Responds to 2019-20 Budget Proposal of Gov. Wolf

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced his proposed 2019-20 budget before the General Assembly on Feb. 5. The Education Law Center and other child advocacy groups had urged the governor to make a bold school funding proposal, including $400 million in new funds for basic education and $100 million for special education. The increases in is…

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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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Response to Rescission of Federal School Discipline Guidance and to School Safety Recommendations

The widespread problem of racial discrimination in school discipline is well documented. The 2014 federal discipline guidance from the Obama administration formally recognized that for the first time and challenged exclusionary discipline practices that disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities. A December 18, 2018, report from the Federal Commission on School Safety,…

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