ELC Webinar on School Climate and Discipline for Youth in Foster Care

Join ELC for this hour-long webinar highlighting current best practices, policies, and tools that can improve school climate for all students, and especially those in the child welfare system.  The webinar was developed for educators, school administrators, teachers, and advocates, and guides participants through the Legal Center on Foster Care and Education’s new tool on school discipline.

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ELC Commends Feds on New Correctional Education Guidance

Dec. 11, 2014 –  The Education Law Center commends the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education on issuing new joint guidance on Correctional Education.

The guidance, released this week, not only encourages states to focus on prevention to reduce the number of children sent to juvenile correctional facilities, but also emphasizes the importance of providing high quality education to students while they are in those facilities.

“A key ingredient to success for a youth leaving a juvenile justice placement is the transition back to a traditional school setting,” said ELC’s Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow Ashley Sawyer.  “But, because of the grossly inadequate education many receive while locked up, the rate of successful transition is low and the rate of drop-out is high.”

The guidance reminds facilities that the same civil rights laws that apply to traditional public schools apply to facilities providing educational services. And these protections extend to all students, including students with disabilities. In addition, the guidance makes clear that students in juvenile correctional facilities, who otherwise meet eligibility criteria, are eligible for federal need-based grants for post-secondary education.

“Our staff at ELC has long-advocated for children in juvenile correctional facilities, including children with disabilities, who are legally entitled to a full range of educational services,” said ELC Interim Executive Director Deborah Gordon Klehr.  “Far too many children are sent to correctional facilities, and too often these children do not receive an appropriate education while in placement,” she said.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 44 other states and the District of Columbia have all reduced the number of children placed in juvenile correctional facilities, said Sawyer, who will work to ensure this new guidance is implemented in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is, unfortunately, one of a few states that has actually increased the number of students placed in juvenile correctional facilities,” she said.

Read the federal guidance.

Read the Washington Post article.


Op/Ed: Lessons from Coatesville

October 22, 2013 – by Solomon Hunter and Rhonda Brownstein –

When one or two individuals in an organization blatantly act out in discriminatory ways, it’s easy to imagine that dealing with those individuals, primarily by removing them from the organization, solves the problem. Continue reading

Pa. Group Alleges Discrimination in Alternative-School Placements

August 7, 2013 – by Christina Samuels –

The Pennsylvania-based Education Law Center filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice today, saying that young people with disabilities and black students are being placed in alternative schools far out of proportion to their representation in the school population.

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