This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
In what’s being celebrated as a major victory for parents, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has validated the families’ claims of deficient curricula in four Philadelphia public schools. The department has ordered corrective action within 45 days.
After state budget cuts stripped schools of resources districtwide, academic programming was found lacking at Bodine High School of International Affairs; the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts; the Arts Academy at Benjamin Rush; and C.W. Henry Elementary.
The department’s ruling comes in response to 825 complaints filed in 2013 by parents from 75 schools through a coordinated effort organized by Parents United for Public Education.
Under the direction of former state Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq, an appointee of former Gov. Tom Corbett, the department did not investigate those claims.
In response to the inaction, seven parents, along with Parents United, filed a lawsuit against the department in 2014 with the help of the Public Interest Law Center.
Dumaresq had petitioned the Commonwealth Court to dismiss the case, claiming that the complaints were not curricular and thus didn’t legally demand action.