clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Judge: Pa. Education Department on the hook for ‘curriculum deficiencies’

Photo: NewsWorks WHYY

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

Who is responsible when budget cuts require a school district to drop classes?

After budget cuts started in the 2011-2012 school year, parents in Philadelphia filed 825 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Their complaints ranged from overcrowding in classrooms, to cutting back on courses such as art and foreign languages, to a lack of guidance counselors in schools.

In a lawsuit against the department, seven of those parents — along with the Public Interest Law Center and Parents United for Public Education — contended that the state ignored its own protocol to investigate the complaints under its purview to correct "curriculum deficiencies."

Parents received letters from former acting Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq in which she responded to complaints with form letters calling it a "local matter" and referred parents back to their local districts.

A Commonwealth Court judge has shared an opinion on the case, _Allen vs. Dumaresq_, supporting some of the parents’ complaints and moving the case forward.

Judge says some curriculum complaints valid

Judge Robert Simpson cited some of the Education Department’s own regulations in his opinion, particularly those that define a "curriculum deficiency," when deciding not to dismiss the parents’ case against the state.

According to Section 4.81 of Title 22 of the Pennsylvania Administrative Code, the secretary of education "will receive and investigate allegations of curriculum deficiencies." The code then spells out what a curriculum deficiency is, and how the secretary can confirm that one exists.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

Connect with your community

Find upcoming Philadelphia events

Sign up for the newsletter Chalkbeat Philadelphia

Sign up for our newsletter.