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Philly parents file suit against Pa. Department of Education

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of guidance counselors, a lack of proper coursework.

These are among the reasons parents in the Philadelphia School District filed a lawsuit this week in Commonwealth Court against the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Parent Tim Allen sent his son to Bodine High based on its reputation as a high-achieving magnet school with an international focus.

But budget cuts in the last few years slashed faculty to the point that the school had just one foreign language teacher and classroom overcrowding was widespread.

At a back-to-school night, Allen said he saw so many desks crammed into a classroom that it was clear that the teacher physically couldn’t give kids individualized attention.

"And I ask, ‘Well, how do you walk around?’ And she says, ‘Well, I don’t,’" Allen recalled.

Based on these shortcomings, Allen wrote to the state Department of Education, which is legally obligated to investigate complaints of curricular deficiencies.

In all, 825 complaints were sent by parents, guardians, students, and teachers last year.

"And I basically got a letter saying that it was entirely a local matter and there’s nothing they could do," he said.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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