CLE’s Boston office receives limited MA funding to provide targeted advocacy to challenge systemic statewide issues impeding low-income students from attaining the high academic content and achievement standards set for all students. CLE works collaboratively with community based organizations promoting improved educational outcomes for all students through school- and district-wide change, and provides legal and technical assistance to legal services and other public interest attorneys representing low-income students in an array of education law related matters, including exclusionary discipline, racial and sexual harassment, discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, gender and sexual orientation, testing and assessments, school records and privacy issues, denial of appropriate specialized instruction and supportive services necessary for students with disabilities to access state standards set for all, failure to provide accommodations in teaching and learning for English language learners and students with disabilities, and barriers to higher education.
- Pro Bono Education Law Project provides representation to low-income students throughout MA who are being excluded from public schools through disciplinary exclusion or as a result of an ineffective/inadequate education.
- School-Level and Districtwide Advocacy Efforts CLE has been working with families and educators at several schools in Boston, using the requirements of Title I as a tool to bring about school-level change. CLE’s Family School-Level Change Initiative seeks to make schools accountable to families, students, and other members of the school community for providing a high-quality education to every child.
- MA Legislative and Administrative Advocacy CLE comments and testimony pertaining to MA proposed policies, regulations, and statutes.
Pro Bono Education Law Project
CLE’s Pro Bono Education Law Project, a collaborative partnership with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and Choate, Hall and Stewart, provides direct legal assistance to low-income students throughout the state who are being excluded from public school through disciplinary exclusion or as a result of an ineffective/inadequate education. Intake: Monday-Friday, 9:00am-6:00pm.
- Center for Law and Education and Choate, Hall & Stewart Successfully Challenge “Zero Tolerance” School Weapons Policy (PDF) Press release.
- Adrian Walker, Vigilance to a Fault, Boston Globe, January 23, 2010
- John Barankiak and Jenny Chou, Op-Ed, Zero-tolerance Can Mean Zero Due Process, Boston Globe, December 24, 2009
- CLE & Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice create private pro bono project with Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (PDF) Original project press release.
School and/or Districtwide Advocacy
School-Level and Districtwide Advocacy Efforts
- Recommendations Submitted to Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson and the Boston School Committee RE: Promoting Successful Pathways to Postsecondary Education and Employment for Students with Disabilities (February 24, 2010) (PDF)
- Recommendations for the Boston Public Schools Code of Discipline (June 30, 2009) (PDF) Recommendations sumbitted by CLE, BPON Taskforce: Code of Discipline Subcommittee, and parent members of CLE’s Family School-Level Change Initiative. Recommendations urge BPS to adopt and enforce a Code of Discipline that is based on the core belief that students have the right to a high-quality education and should not be punished by denying them the opportunity to learn by, among other things, limiting the exclusion of students from their usual classroom instruction as a discipline response by using exclusion only in the most extreme circumstances and as a last resort.
- Recommendations for the Boston Public Schools Code of Discipline (June 29, 2009) (PDF) Submitted by Members of the Boston Student Advisory Council (BSAC) and the Fifth Floor Student Government at The English High School with Support from CLE, accompanying recommendations by families posted above.
- Recommendations for the English High School Civility Standards (June 2009) (PDF) Proposed changes to the English High School Civility Standards by members of the Fifth Floor Student Government at EHS with support from CLE. Changes seek to avoid, whenever possible, the exclusion of students from their usual classroom instruction as a response to discipline problems and to promote, instead, the use of alternative approaches to discipline.
- Boston Family School-Level Change Initiative Executive Summary (2007) (PDF) CLE has been working with families and educators at several schools in Boston, using the requirements of Title I as a tool to bring about school-level change. CLE’s Family School-Level Change Initiative seeks to make schools accountable to families, students, and other members of the school community for providing a high-quality education to every child.
- Boston Family School-Level Change Initiative Press Release (2007) (PDF)
- “Components of a Parent Involvement Policy,” (2009) (PDF) Handout describing seven components, at a minimum, that should comprise a Title I Parent Involvment Policy (source: 20 U.S.C. § 6318). The Policy must describe how families, teachers, and administrators will knowledgeably and effectively participate in developing the school’s Title I schoolwide program plan or program plan as appropriate.
- CLE Releases Key Tool for School Reform: Educational Quality Bill of Rights (EQBR) (PDF) CLE has developed both a short and long version of its EQBR. The EQBR is designed as a starting point both to help schools articulate what they need to provide to ensure that all children receive a high-quality education, and to advance district and state adequacy efforts to help ensure that the resources and supports are sufficient for schools to have the capacity to provide that high-quality education.
- EQBR Short-form (1 page version) (PDF) identifies each key element of quality education in response to parent-oriented key questions about a school.
- EQBR Longer version (PDF) outlines the contents and components of each of those key elements of quality education in response to parent-oriented key questions about a school.
- “Family Literacy Resources,” (June 2009) (PDF) Families at one school site used the parent involvement provisions of Title I to begin a school-wide focus on improving the literacy skills of students at their school. Conversations between families and teachers culminated in a workshop for families about ways families can support their child’s literacy at home. Handout supplemented information provided at workshop.
- “Boston Public Schools Office of Family and Student Engagement Summer Institute Workshop: Developing a Family Engagement Policy,” (August, 20 2008) (PDF) Presentation for members of the Boston Public Schools Office of Family and Student Engagement introducing a framework for making schools accountable to families, students, and other members of the school community for providing a high quality education to all children. Goal of the workshop is to introduce the legal provisions in Title I that require each school to develop a Parent Involvement Policy intended to lead to meaningful school-level change.
MA Legislation & Policy
- Comments by CLE on MA Proposed Revisions to 603 C.M.R. 4.00 (July 2019, PDF) Comments on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s career technical education regulations including the Department’s May 7, 2019 Draft of Proposed Revisions for Discussion and Stakeholder Feedback.
- Comments by CLE on MA Proposed Regulations, Ch. 222 of the Acts of 2012 (March 2014, PDF) Comments in response to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s solicitation for public comment on 603 CMR 53.00, Student Discipline Regulations.
- Comments by CLE on the proposed amendments to 603 CMR 28.00 and the proposed regulations on Commonealth of Massachusetts Virtual Schools (CMVS) 603 CMR 52.00 (January 2014, PDF) Comments on ammendments to special education and virtual schools regulations.
- Comments by CLE on Charter Schools Recruitment and Retention Efforts (July 2013, PDF) Follow-up comments on issues of denial of equal educational opportunity, through push-out policies and practices, to LEP students and students with disabilities in Massachusetts charter schools.
- Comments by CLE on Proposed Amendments to MA Accountability and Assistance Regulations (November 6, 2009, PDF)
- Comments by CLE (Attorney Joanne Karger) to MA Grad. & Dropout Prevention & Recovery Commission (April 29th, 2009, PDF) Comments in Response to the Commission’s Legislative charge, reflecting CLE’s position that the most effective way to address the dropout problem is to ensure that students receive the high-quality education to which they are entitled under law and that students not be deprived of an education as an administrative response to problematic behavior.
- Testimony of Kathleen B. Boundy, Co-Director, CLE, in Support of H.3533 and S.1688: An Act to Restore Enforcement of Civil Rights (PDF) Proposed legislation would enable individuals as members of a protected class to bring claims based on state statute that they could once bring in federal court pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (prior to Alexander v. Sandoval, 2001)