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Rose Wehrman

  • Hosted by Education Law Center
  • Sponsored by Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Service location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Law school Columbia Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rose (she/her/hers) will provide direct representation and systemic legal advocacy to prevent the unlawful and disproportionate pushout of underserved preschool children in Philadelphia, with a focus on Black and Brown children, children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

Children’s experiences in their first five years are critical to brain development, and access to high-quality early education is associated with positive academic and life outcomes. Often due to subjective and racially discriminatory school rules and enforcement, underserved preschoolers are excluded at significantly higher rates than their peers. Without quality preschool, underserved children enter kindergarten academically behind and may never catch up. When children are suspended or expelled from preschool, their risk of later justice-system involvement increases significantly, pushing them into the preschool-to-prison pipeline.

Rose’s experiences working in elementary education, education research, and juvenile justice motivate her commitment to disrupting inequitable cycles, especially for the youngest learners.

Fellowship Plans

Rose will work to prevent early education pushout by directly representing underserved preschoolers in due process hearings, IEP meetings, school negotiations, and potential administrative complaints, among other avenues. Rose will also seek to improve access to high-quality early education and increase awareness of the education rights of young children through “know your rights” and informational trainings. Rose will work to identify and dismantle barriers driving preschool suspension and expulsion in Philadelphia by collaborating with stakeholders and creating a cross-system working group to address preschool exclusion in Philadelphia moving forward.

Early education is critical for all children, and all children deserve high-quality early education. Through my Equal Justice Works Fellowship, I will work to dismantle the preschool-to-prison pipeline and set students up for success.

Rose Wehrman /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Rose

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Rachel Judd

Host: Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center

Sponsor: The Morrison & Foerster Foundation

Mary Claire Hyatt

Host: Legal Aid of Arkansas

Sponsor: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart, Inc.

Lily Eagle Colby

Host: Youth Law Center

Sponsor: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Christina Campbell

Host: Center For Educational Excellence In Alternative Settings

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP