HB 97: Inadequate Charter School Reform

April 2017 – A responsible charter school law must empower local governing bodies to strategically control charter growth as a tool to increase quality options and improve our system of public education for all students. The charter school law should not force blind expansion on already burdened systems and compel the loss of neighborhood school options. HB 97 is deficient as it stands. This fact sheet focuses on the key problem areas of this proposed charter reform bill. For ELC’s full response to HB 97, see our letter to the House Education Committee sent on April 24, 2017.

Pennsylvania’s New Truancy Law (Extended Version)

Governor Wolf signed new truancy legislation into law on Thursday, November 3, 2016. This factsheet highlights important provisions of the new law relating to the rights of families, and obligations and roles of schools, courts, and children and youth agencies. Key departures from the prior truancy law are in red.

School Discipline in Pennsylvania

This fact sheet, updated in March, 2016, covers the basics of school discipline in Pennsylvania. This fact sheet applies to all public schools, including charter schools, in the state.

ELC Fact Sheet : Act 26

Act 26 is a Pennsylvania law which requires the expulsion for at least one year of any student who possesses a weapon on school property, at a school function, or going to and from school.  Many students have faced expulsion as a result of this law. Review the complete fact sheet for more information.

ELC Fact Sheet: Education Decision Makers

The Education Law Center and Juvenile Law Center have developed a fact sheet to explain important educational decision maker rules, including Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Court Procedural Rules (Rules 1147 and 147) requiring judges to appoint an “Educational Decision Maker” for children who have no parent or guardian to make education decisions for them, or when a court concludes that appointing an EDM is in the best interest of a child.

In addition, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, school districts have a duty to appoint a “surrogate parent” for children with special education needs under specific circumstances.

ELC Toolkit: School Success for Students Without Homes

This collection of “tools” is intended to help parents and providers ensure school success for children and youth (ages 3-21) in Pennsylvania who are experiencing homelessness. The toolkit provides information about important laws and explains legal rights and how to use them.

ELC Fact Sheet on the Rights of Students Experiencing Homelessness

Youth who are experiencing homelessness have special rights under a federal law called the McKinney-Vento Act. This 2019 fact sheet provides detailed information and resources for youth experiencing homelessness regarding their education rights under that federal law. A sample complaint form is provided.


ELC School Enrollment Guide for Older Youth

This step-by-step fact sheet can help older youth enroll themselves in school quickly. It also provides contact information and the necessary forms for school enrollment.


ELC Expulsions in Pennsylvania Fact Sheet (Espanol)

Una hoja informativa que proporciona información a los padres y tutores sobre las normas y procedimientos para la expulsión de los estudiantes de las escuelas del distrito escolar y las escuelas charter.

Aunque que las escuelas públicas tienen amplia libertad para crear reglas, deben seguir sus propias reglas. Por lo tanto, una escuela sólo puede expulsar a un estudiante por una violación de una regla de la escuela, si la escuela la ha adoptado oficialmente y distribuido la regla. Las reglas escolares deben estar inscritos en el Código de Conducta del Estudiante y debe ser publicado y distribuido a todos los estudiantes y padres de familia.

ELC Expulsions in Pennsylvania Fact Sheet

A fact sheet providing information for parents and guardians on the rules and procedures for student expulsions from school district and charter schools.

While public schools have wide latitude to create rules, they must follow their own rules. Thus, a school can only expel a student for a violation of a school rule if the school has officially adopted and distributed the rule. School rules should be listed in a published Code of Student Conduct that should be given to all students and parents.

ELC Spanish Language Guide to Inclusive Early Childhood Learning in Pennsylvania

La guía es un recurso rápido y fácil a los programas integrales de aprendizaje para la primera infancia en Pennsylvania para padres de niños con retrasos de desarollo o discapacidades. Describe ocho programas diferentes de aprendizaje temprano, incluso Early Head Start y Head Start, Infant and Toddler y Preschool Early Intervention, y Pre-K Counts, y proporciona información para padres sobre desarrollo infantil y cómo indentificar programas de aprendizaje temprano con calidad.

ELC Fact Sheet: Fiscally Distressed School Districts

A 2013 Fact Sheet on Act 141, the School District Financial Recovery Law, that is intended to assist financially distressed school districts get back on a path toward financial stability. The law, passed July 12, 2012, allows the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Secretary of Education to declare up to nine school districts at a time in Financial Recovery Status. This would then allow the Secretary to appoint either a Chief Recovery Officer or a receiver to develop, implement, and administer a financial recovery plan.

ELC School Enrollment Guide

ELC’s step-by-step public school enrollment guide.

Note: A child can be enrolled by a parent, foster parent, guardian, caseworker or anyone having charge or care of the child.