Center Publishes Online Guide for School Parents

A new Education Law Center guide claims schools must ensure all remote learners (at top) have full-day access to a computer and reliable Internet service

By Andrea Sears, Public News Service
for The Post

PHILADELPHIA PA – Parents and students struggling to understand how their right to an education is affected by the coronavirus pandemic can find answers in an online back-to-school guide, available here.

The guide, compiled by the Philadelphia-based Education Law Center, claims that despite challenges facing schools this year students deserve equitable, affirming and culturally responsive school spaces. It also addresses the need for schools to change policies and practices that make learning spaces unsafe for students, especially students of color, according to Hetal Dhagat, a center staff attorney.

“We want families to know that whether your child is receiving their education in-person, virtually or through a hybrid model, they still retain their important public-education rights,” Dhagat said.

The guide includes more than 20 fact sheets on issues about which parents may want to know. Dhagat noted it also includes a checklist for schools providing online learning to ensure they equitably serve all students.

“For example, we are talking about access to Internet, those really basic necessities, to ensure that online learning can even begin to occur,” she said.

The guide includes sections on students with disabilities, those in foster care, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness.

Dhagat said the fact sheets can help empower parents to advocate on behalf of their children, but more help is available if needed. “If you would like some additional assistance, feel free to reach out to the really strong advocates and attorneys that we have in this area or you can reach out to the Education Law Center’s helpline,” Dhagat said. In Eastern Pennsylvania, the number is 215-238-6970.

Disclosure: The Education Law Center contributes to the Public News Service fund for reporting on children’s issues, disabilities, education, and social justice.