Education Law Center (ELC)

Ensuring equal access to a quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania by advocating on behalf of the most under students.

Philadelphia Bar Foundation Grant Impact

Support from the Philadelphia Bar Foundation provides the flexibility that Education Law Center (ELC) needs to pivot quickly to address new community challenges. When ELC has the opportunity to take on cases with intersectional challenges, such as supporting students of color with disabilities who are facing exclusionary school discipline, its attorneys are able to identify new pressing challenges facing children and families in Philadelphia to push for policy reform and utilize innovative legal theory to create comprehensive solutions to overcome barriers to a quality education for all students.

Summary List of Programs and Services

Advice and information to individual parents, students, child-serving professionals, and others through a phone intake system in certain priority areas. In addition, ELC’s publications can be downloaded from our website.

Education & Support: Provides training programs on legal rights to families and child-serving professionals. Provides support and consultation to students, parents, and community organizations.

Policy advocacy: Advocates at the local, state, and federal levels for policy changes to improve access to quality public education for all children in Pennsylvania.

Impact Litigation: Represents individual families and classes of families/students to eliminate broad-based illegal practices or to establish important precedents.

Summary List of Priorities for Client Intake

We focus on three key program areas: (1) Ensuring Equal Access, which includes advocating for access to school and needed services on behalf of children with disabilities, children in the foster care system, children experiencing homelessness, children of color, LGBTQ students, and English language learners; (2) Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline, which includes promoting evidence-based prevention practices to improve school climate while advocating against exclusionary discipline policies that push at-risk children out of school and often into the school-to-prison pipeline; and (3) Fighting for Fair Funding, which includes advocating for adequate and equitable state funding for under-resourced schools in Pennsylvania. ELC employs a broad range of strategies to accomplish this mission including direct legal representation, impact litigation, educating parents and students about their legal rights, supporting community-based groups, and legislative, regulatory, and policy advocacy.

NOTE: In general, ELC does not provide direct representation or consultations to individual families in special education matters, nor does it address issues of home-schooling, higher education/post-secondary education, issues relating solely to private schools or gifted education. However, publications on some of these issues are available on ELC’s website.