This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks
Before this year’s classes began in the Philadelphia School District, parents groups and lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center worried that budget cutbacks were so severe that the state would not be able to meet its legal obligation to provide an adequate education.
A few days before class, they called on fellow parents, students and teachers to file formal complaints with Pennsylvania’s education secretary.
Thus far, they said, 260 have been filed. They expect to file an additional 100 complaints by the end of the week.
On Thursday, education advocates also announced a new website, myphillyschools.com, where people can make official complaints.
Minh Nguyen, who works with Asian youth at Boat People SOS, said some immigrant students are not getting the language services to which they’re entitled. Take a Vietnamese high school senior, who just came to the country last year.
"When I first met her, I asked her, ‘What are you most excited about to be in Philadelphia, to be in the United States?’" he said. "And she said to me, ‘I’m most excited about getting a good education. I want to improve my life. I want to end poverty within my family.’"
But now, Nguyen said, she is lost.