Education Law Center | December Newsletter
Happy holidays from all of us at ELC! As 2015 comes to a close, we thank you for your support as we work to ensure that all children in Pennsylvania have access to a quality public education. 
President Obama reauthorizes federal education law with groundbreaking provisions for children in the foster care and juvenile justice systems
This month, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ESSA is the first major overhaul of federal education law in over a decade. Among many new provisions, the law now requires states to ensure certain protections for vulnerable youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Although states and districts will be grappling with implementation of ESSA's many new provisions, the protections for youth in foster care hold great promise.

Pennsylvania budget delay continues; our schoolchildren suffer
A bill that would increase basic education funding by $350 million dollars -- part of an agreement between the Governor and legislative leaders -- passed the state Senate in an overwhelming bipartisan vote earlier this month. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives, however, has been unable to reach consensus to pass the legislation. If the budget stalemate continues, some school districts have already announced that they will not reopen after the holidays, and others will be forced to make painful cuts. A proposed "stop-gap" budget will not provide the critical funding our schools desperately need. 
Please take some time today to reach out to your representative in the PA House and urge them to pass the Senate budget to move Pennsylvania forward and ensure that every student has access to a quality public education, no matter where he or she lives. 
Join the Campaign for Fair Education Funding
Alongside 50 organizations across Pennsylvania, ELC is a leading member of the Campaign for Fair Education Funding.  Read more  on our efforts to ensure that every student has access to a quality education no matter where he or she lives. As the budget impasse continues and our schools remain unfunded, we urge you to join the Campaign
Proposed school code adds high costs and reduces accountability
As part of the on-going budget negotiations, the PA Senate recently passed legislation that would significantly amend the public school code. ELC released an analysis and determined that revenues provided under the proposed budget deal would be swallowed up by the new costs associated with the bill's mandate for rapid charter school expansion.

ELC Fellow helps facilitate town hall on issues facing girls of color
Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow and ELC  attorney Ashley Sawyer served as a facilitator for the December event "Breaking the Silence: A Philadelphia Town Hall Hearing on Women of Color." The discussion was a part of a national series by the African American Policy Forum and the Columbia University Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies designed to elevate the voices and experiences of women and girls of color. Ashley received testimony from a young woman from Philadelphia who shared how her education was negatively impacted by being incarcerated in an adult women's facility. Another young woman shared testimony about dropping out of high school in order to care for a parent battling substance addiction. ELC is working on systemic policy solutions to address some of the issues raised at the town hall. Photo Credit: Emmy Morse
ELC attorney interviewed on school testing
The Philadelphia Public School  Notebook interviewed Senior Staff Attorney Maura McInerney about what parents need to know regarding testing of students with special education needs and students that are English Language Learners.

Save the Date: Pennsylvania School Climate Coalition Teleconference
The next Pennsylvania School Climate Coalition teleconference will be held on  Thursday, January 14th  at 3pm. During the call we will discuss trauma informed practices, learn more about the reauthorization of the  Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)  and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), and hear an update about ELC's work on behalf of Black girls as part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention National Girls Initiative. If you are interested in participating in the call or would like to be added to the coalition listserve, please email  Jackie Perl ow at .
ELC Advances Culturally Competent Learning Environments for English Language Learners in Allegheny County
As part of our statewide advocacy on behalf of English language learners, ELC is working with partners in western Pennsylvania to draw attention to the need for language access and culturally competent supports and services for students and parents with limited English proficiency. We were invited to serve on a committee charged with developing improved systems and resources for immigrants in Allegheny County. Through this work and our individual and systemic advocacy, we convinced Pittsburgh Public Schools to train District translators on special education and school discipline rights and procedures. As interest grows at the state and local level to welcome immigrants and support English language learners, ELC remains committed to ensuring that all Pennsylvania students are educated in schools that provide culturally competent and inclusive learning environments for refugee and immigrant students. 

There's still time to donate to ELC in 2015!
Please consider a donation to the Education Law Center. Your support will help thousands of the most at-risk children in Pennsylvania access the education they need and deserve. Donations to ELC are fully tax deductible. Happy Holidays and thank you for your generous support!

Learn more and donate.

A copy of the Education Law Center's official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.  
Ensuring access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania
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