Staff attorney Michael Churchill will be honored by Education Voters of Pennsylvania at a celebratory reception on June 21st, 2018, 5:00-7:00 p.m., at Greenberg Traurig LLP.
For more than three decades, Michael Churchill has fought for high quality public education for all Pennsylvania children. He has led and continues to lead the Public Interest Law Center’s education litigation and policy advocacy efforts, which have helped close racial gaps in schools, kept schools open, and challenged Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional system of school funding.
Based on this sustained and meaningful service to the cause of public education, Education Voters of Pennsylvania is recognizing Mr. Churchill at a reception in his honor. Education Voters of Pennsylvania plays a critical role in ensuring that education issues are a priority for voters and lawmakers across the state.
“Michael is a giant,” said Susan Spicka, of Education Voters. “He has been a mentor and teacher to scores of education activists and an immeasurable asset to Pennsylvania’s children and families. We are beyond lucky to have him.”
Mr. Churchill currently leads the Public Interest Law Center’s litigation team challenging Pennsylvania’s inequitable and inadequate system of school funding. In the landmark case, William Penn School District et. al. v. Pennsylvania Department of Education et. al., Mr. Churchill and his colleagues are attempting to force the state legislature to abide by their constitutional responsibility to provide a thorough and efficient system of public education for all of Pennsylvania’s students.
“The legislature seeks to argue that education is not an important right,” said Mr. Churchill. “They make that argument in the face of everything families know to be true. In fact, the state Constitution singles out education so that it cannot be treated just as any other service.”
The William Penn School District litigation is only the latest case in a career full of work defending and strengthening public education for Pennsylvania students. In the 1990s, Mr. Churchill represented families in several challenges to the state’s school funding system. In 2012, he successfully advocated for a class of special education students from the Chester Upland School District to prevent school closures and to require the state to provide sufficient funding for special education programs.
In 2013, Mr. Churchill led an effort that compelled the Philadelphia School District to release information on the methodology behind a string of school closures to parent activists. He continues to lead the Law Center’s efforts to ensure that children and families in Philadelphia who do not speak English have meaningful access to interpreters and special education services.