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Education Law Center has worked tirelessly on behalf of public school children and has successfully championed the cause of education reform in New Jersey and across the nation. For decades, ELC’s advocacy has influenced education policy and practice and has focused on the needs of low-income students and students with disabilities and other special needs.

Major accomplishments include:

  • Substantial reform in school funding, particularly for at-risk students and high-need schools in New Jersey, making the state a national leader in fair school funding and providing the resources needed to improve student performance.
  • Establishment of high quality preschool for over 40,000 three- and four-year-old children in urban communities; widely recognized as the nation's most effective early education program.


  • The National Education Association honored ELC Executive Director David Sciarra with the NEA Rosa Parks Memorial Award at the organization's annual Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner on July 3, 2016, in Washington, D.C. View David's introduction and acceptance speech here.
  • New Jersey Child Assault Prevention honored ELC Senior Attorney Elizabeth Athos for her outstanding efforts to ensure safe and harassment-free schools through her contributions to the enactment and implementation of New Jersey’s groundbreaking Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights law. Ms. Athos received the prestigious honor at the NJCAP biannual awards luncheon in Princeton on March 28, 2014.
  • In October 2013, ELC received the Education Advocacy Award from the New Brunswick Area Branch of the NAACP during the organization's 40th Annual Freedom Fund Luncheon. U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, who spoke at the luncheon, presented ELC with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition.
  • Implementation of a statewide school construction program to ensure that all New Jersey students attend school in facilities that are safe, educationally adequate, and not overcrowded. This program has built over 100 new and renovated urban schools and provided grants to support hundreds of other school projects in suburban, middle-income and rural districts across the state.
  • Significant improvements in the academic achievement of New Jersey’s at-risk students and a narrowing of the achievement gap between suburban and urban students. 
  • Establishment of legal due process safeguards in discipline proceedings to ensure that children are not expelled or removed from school with no alternative educational options.
  • Development of a strong set of regulations that protect students seeking admission to public school who are homeless or undocumented or who live with caregivers other than their parents.
  • Requirement that school districts provide parents with evaluation reports prior to special education eligibility determination meetings and that all students with disabilities receive assessments to determine appropriate post-secondary outcomes.
  • Creation of New Jersey’s only statewide education advocacy network, Our Children/Our Schools, bringing together education, children's rights and civil rights organizations.
  • Development of a large, relational database of educational indicators containing trend data on over 200 indicators for all schools and districts in New Jersey dating back to the 1994-95 school year.
  • Establishment of the Secondary Reform Project, which advocates for progressive middle and high school reform  in New Jersey’s urban districts in an effort to reduce dropout rates, increase graduation and college participation rates and narrow gaps in educational achievement and opportunity. 
  • Creation of Education Justice, a project that provides services to a network of litigators and other education advocates across the country in an effort to secure the opportunity to learn and equity in funding and learning resources for all children, including low-income and minority children, children learning English, and children with disabilities.