A Guide to Education Rights During the Pandemic / Public News Service

A new guide says schools need to ensure that all remote learners have full-day access to a computer and reliable internet service. (fizkes/Adobe Stock)

September 22, 2020

PHILADELPHIA — Parents and students struggling to understand how their right to an education is affected by the COVID pandemic can find answers in an online back-to-school guide.

The guide, compiled by the Education Law Center, makes the point that, despite the unprecedented challenges facing schools this year, students continue to deserve equitable, affirming and culturally responsive school spaces. According to Hetal Dhagat, a staff attorney at the Center, this year’s guide also addresses the need for schools to change policies and practices that make learning spaces unsafe for students, especially students of color.

“We want families to know that whether your child is receiving their education in-person, virtually or through a hybrid model, they still retain their important public-education rights,” Dhagat said.

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New Trump rule ties college funding to speech, faith rights

The Trump administration is moving forward with a policy that expands protections for religious groups on college campuses and threatens to cut federal education funding to colleges that violate free speech rules.

The rule was issued by the Education Department Wednesday, less than two months before the election, and cements much of what President Donald Trump outlined in a March 2019 executive order demanding wider speech protections at U.S. colleges. In taking up the issue, Trump highlighted concerns from conservatives who complained that their voices had been suppressed on university campuses.

As part of the policy, the Education Department can suspend or terminate grants to public universities found in court to have violated the First Amendment. In extreme cases, schools could become ineligible for any further grants. The same actions could be taken against private universities found in court to have violated their own speech codes.

Public universities could also

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