Joint Statement Opposing HB 1532

As civil rights, youth, and education advocacy organizations across Pennsylvania, we oppose HB 1532 and all similar efforts that perpetuate racism and sexism. Our schools bear a responsibility to teach our children accurate history and dismantle biases. The bill prohibits our teachers from accurately teaching history, improperly bans anti-bias training, and would make culturally relevant teaching nearly impossible. The nearly 50 organizations from across Pennsylvania who have signed this letter oppose HB 1532. We urge the legislature to reject this harmful bill.

Show Your Support For Senate Bill 324: “Fostering a Smooth Transition for Graduation”

Please join ELC in advocating for the passage of important legislation, S.B. 324, to advance the educational rights of Pennsylvania students with experience in the foster care and juvenile justice systems and students experiencing homelessness. The bill, “Fostering a Smooth Transition for Graduation,” ensures these highly mobile youth receive credit for academic work completed, obtain an individualized graduation plan, are assigned a point of contact, and have expanded options to access a high school diploma. Learn more from our fact sheet or the bill’s text.  Show your support by adding your sign-on to a letter in support of this important legislation, which will bring high school graduation within reach for highly mobile students. Please sign on as an organization or individual by using the form here. Thank you for standing with our students! 

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, and school discipline.  The Toolkit helps Pennsylvania CASA programs train CASAs to serve as EDM volunteers and serves as an ongoing resource for EDMs to address questions and challenges that encounter in meeting the needs of children in foster care. The Toolkit includes checklists, suggestions, and resources to help EDMs ensure that students who are in foster care have school stability, access to needed services, and achieve academic success.

Click here for the toolkit, here to view the webinar PowerPoint slides, and here to stream a recording of the webinar.

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 race and disability, the comments conclude:  “ELC applauds the U.S Commission on Civil Rights’ efforts to highlight the issue of discriminatory discipline of students of color with disabilities and the need for continued enforcement of federal laws that directly addresses racial and disability disproportionality. We urge federal policymakers to continue and enhance enforcement through full implementation of the Guidance to encourage districts to remedy profound disciplinary disparities among students of color with disabilities.”  The comments were prepared by ELC attorneys  Reynelle Brown Staley, Deborah Klehr, Maura McInerney, and Kristina Moon.  Read the comments here.