Past Cases & Projects

Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Citizens (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

In 1971, we brought the seminal lawsuit Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the first right-to-education suit in the country, to overturn that Pennsylvania law and secure a quality education for all children.

The Philadelphia Project

We are educating parents and other advocates about their rights, representing individual families in administrative hearings, and, with the information gained from those individual cases, filing class action lawsuits to address systemic issues.

Disproportionality: Segregation Through Special Education

Federal special education law recognizes that problem and imposes certain obligations on the state and school district if a school district has “significant disproportionality.” The problem is that federal law gives wide leeway to states as to how to define the ratios of disproportionality.

Abusive Truancy Policy in Lebanon, PA

Rather than confront the truancy problem with a constructive policy that would actually get kids back in school, the Lebanon School District responded by adopting an abusive and counterproductive policy of levying exorbitant truancy fines – seemingly designed to push kids out rather than pull them back in.

Funding in the Chester Upland School District

The Chester Upland School District filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania seeking the resources it needed to remain open and continue educating the students of Chester.

Gaskin v. Commonwealth

We filed the lawsuit Gaskin v. Commonwealth on June 30, 1994, seeking to increase the number of children with disabilities educated with their non-disabled peers, and to make sure schools provided real supports to make sure inclusion would work as required by the IDEA.

Desegregating Philadelphia Schools

In the early 1970s, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) brought a series of lawsuits against the School District of Philadelphia in Commonwealth Court seeking to desegregate the District.

Powell v. Ridge

The funding formula the state used led to a racial disparity in educational funds provided for each student – even when comparing districts with similar rates of poverty.

Marrero v. Commonwealth

The Pennsylvania Constitution requires the state to “establish and maintain a thorough and efficient system of public education,” but students in poor areas are trapped in failing schools because of the state’s system for funding public schools. While poor neighborhoods are forced to set taxes high and still can’t afford adequate schools, affluent communities next door enjoy a world-class, well-funded education.

Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon

The Law Center’s 1993 case, Oberti v. Board of Education, established inclusion with supplementary aids and services as the presumption because it is “a fundamental value of the right to public education for children with disabilities.”