News

Supporting Service Animals for Children with Disabilities

We submitted an amicus brief to the Third Circuit in support of a student who was denied the right to bring her service dog to school. The child, who has epilepsy, uses a service dog trained to detect seizures before their onset and to respond to seizures. In addition, the service dog provides the child […]

Attention Parents with Extended School Year Concerns

In February 2017, the School District of Philadelphia signed a settlement agreement with parents of students with disabilities in which the District agreed to provide individualized determinations for Extended School Year Services (ESY) and to provide services beyond one-size-fits-all, “cookie-cutter” summer ESY programs for those students who need different and/or additional services.  The District also […]

District Proposal Would Establish Segregated School for Students with Disabilities

UPDATE: The School Reform Commission revised and subsequently approved its special education proposal at its July 6 meeting. The new proposal, while improved, still does not go far enough toward advancing inclusion of students with disabilities. Originally, the School District of Philadelphia requested that the School Reform Commission approve a $36 – 54 million dollar contract to establish a new, segregated school […]

US Supreme Court Advances Rights of Special Education Students; Student Supported by Law Center Amicus Brief Prevails

The US Supreme Court unanimously rejected the position of six circuit courts that federal law was met if a school provided “merely more than de minimis” progress to a student with a disability. The decision on March 22, 2017 was in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1.

Oral Argument Held in Special Education Case

The oral argument before the Supreme Court in the case of Endrew, a Colorado student with autism, took place on January 11th, 2017. The case began when Endrew’s parents sued the public school district for failing to address Endrew’s educational needs after observing how much he improved in a private school specializing in educating children with autism. Their request for reimbursement for the private school tuition was rejected under the “just-above-trivial” standard adopted by the Tenth Circuit. The “just-above-trivial” standard is incompatible with the goal of securing a fair education for all children, and in turn this case advocates for adopting a uniform national standard.

Law Center Welcomes New Disproportionality Rule

In the final month of the Obama Administration, the U.S. Department of Education finalized a rule to address the disproportionate placement of students into special education programs on the basis of race and ethnicity. The new rule requires states and school districts to use a standardized methodology to identify such disproportionate placements.

Urging Governor Wolf to Propose $400 Million in New Basic Education Funding

The Law Center co-signed a letter sent to Governor Tom Wolf on January 3 that called for $400 million in new funding for K-12 schools next year:

The Cost of Adequate Education Funding: An Updated Report

We conclude that in order for districts to have adequate funding to enable their students to meet state standards, the Commonwealth must provide school districts with between $3.036 and $4.073 billion more in additional funding than it is distributing for the 2016-17 school year.

Law Center Submits Amicus Brief in Special Education Case

The Law Center and its partners submitted an amicus brief on the merits of a case regarding special education and the degree of educational benefit required under Free Appropriate Public Education.

Solicitor General Weighs in on Special Education Case

The Solicitor General weighed in on a petition for cert in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, siding with parents on the question of the standard under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to measure whether a child has received a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).