Education Law Center
Newsletter | July 2014
Pittsburgh Public Schools' New Code of Student Conduct Emphasizes Restorative Practices, Strengthens Protections and Rights for Students

The Education Law Center applauds Pittsburgh Public Schools' newly proposed code of student conduct, which would reduce harmful zero-tolerance policies that disproportionality impact students of color and students with disabilities, while emphasizing greater protections and supports for English language learners, LGBTQ students, and parenting students.  The PPS School Board will meet on Aug. 4 to vote on the new policy, which would go into effect when school resumes in August.
The Law Center worked with PPS as well as students and community advocates to develop the new policies.  "The new code of conduct reflects national research and best practices for ensuring that all students receive the supports necessary to succeed in school, and promotes restorative practices that actually improve school climate and school safety," said ELC attorney Cheryl Kleiman. 
"What we've seen from national data and from our own work here in Pennsylvania is that school discipline policies that emphasize inclusion and appropriate supports ultimately lead to more positive education outcomes for all students. Zero-tolerance policies have the opposite effect - they tend to push out the students already poorly served by the education system - particularly students of color and students with disabilities - and remove them from valuable supports and services, while doing little to improve behavior or academic achievement," she said.
The Law Center's work on the PPS Code of Student Conduct is generously supported by the Heinz Endowments and FISA Foundation.

Listen to ELC's Cheryl Kleiman discuss the proposed new code of conduct on Essential Pittsburgh Radio.

ELC Statement on State Budget: Missed opportunity to address school funding crisis
Governor Corbett's 
2014-15 state budget does little to address Pennsylvania's systemic public education funding crisis.

"This budget was a missed opportunity for the legislature and the Governor - and a loss for public school students," said Rhonda Brownstein, Executive Director of the Education Law Center.

"There were several options for our state leaders to not only provide adequate funding to our schools, but to also enact cost-saving measures," said Brownstein.


Join advocates in Harrisburg to Fight for Philadelphia Schools

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will return to work on Monday, August 4th and it is critical its members vote to approve the Philadelphia cigarette tax increase for schools. 

The District's budget hinges on the passage of the cigarette tax increase, which is estimated to generate $80 million a year. Without the tax enacted by August 15th, the district will be forced to lay off 1,300 teachers and staff.

Join advocates from Public Citizens for Children Youth, Education Voters PA, and others in Harrisburg to visit lawmakers and urge them to pass this crucial legislation.

Click here to RSVP today or call 215-563-5848 x11 or email [email protected].

Buses depart 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 8:30 a.m. and return to Philadelphia about 5:00 p.m.  For those planning to drive, meet in the Capitol at 10:30 a.m. in Room 39 of the East Wing.
WHEN: September 17, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Crystal Tea Room, in the Wanamaker Building, Philadelphia.

WHO: Honoring William P. Fedullo, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association;  Dr. Joan Duvall-Flynn, Education Committee Chair for the Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP Branches; and the Stoneleigh Foundation, a Philadelphia regional leader on at-risk youth issues.

To become a sponsor contact ELC's Terese Parisi at
[email protected].

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