In 1971, the Arc of Pennsylvania (PARC) sued the Commonwealth on behalf of 11 students with disabilities who had been denied public school enrollment, including four children from Western Pennsylvania. The Consent Agreement that resulted from the lawsuit guaranteed the education of every Pennsylvania child with disability and set the stage for federal law that guaranteed the right to education in 1975.
In September, Tina Calabro of the Western Pennsylvania Disability History and Action Consortium presented the history of this landmark Pennsylvania law at the monthly meeting of the Pittsburgh Local Task Force on the Right to Education. The Pittsburgh Local Task Force—one of 29 across Pennsylvania established as part of the PARC Decree—is charged with ensuring the “intent and spirit” of the Right to Education Consent Decree. By law, each Local Task Force has a 51 percent parent majority. The remaining members represent school districts and community services.
The Consortium welcomes invitations from educators and parent groups to present the history of special education in Western Pennsylvania. Contact project manager John Tague at [email protected].