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Jacqueline Perlow

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Jacqueline Perlow

Jacqueline Perlow

Name of Host Organization: Education Law Center
City, State: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: PNC Bank, Reed Smith LLP

The Project

Use a combination of direct representation, systemic advocacy, and community engagement to improve academic achievement and reduce educational barriers for immigrant and refugee students

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
In 2015, there were over 50,000 students designated as English Language Learners (ELL) in Pennsylvania. The majority of ELL students in the area arrive as refugees, many of whom have a history of trauma. ELLs across Pittsburgh face barriers to enrolling in early childhood programs, advanced courses, and gifted programs, and ELLs with disabilities are less likely to be identified and provided with special education services.
The Right Person For This Project

Jackie is the right person for the project because:
• Jackie has experience advocating for the educational rights of English Language Learners and their families, both through direct representation and systemic advocacy
• Jackie’s joint degree in public policy gives her a unique understanding of how to implement data-driven policy initiatives and effective legislative strategies

Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship

In the first six months, Jackie will: • Provide advice and representation to ELL students who have disabilities or are involved in disciplinary proceedings
• Develop a series of trainings for parents, case workers, and other advocates on the educational rights of ELLs
• Begin drafting an “ELL Toolkit” that will help limited English proficient parents navigate the public education system
• Meet with key partners to develop strategies for ensuring local school districts adopt policies to meet the needs of ELLs