As we approach the end of 2023 and our 50th anniversary year, we want to share some highlights of Education Law Center’s work over the past 12 months. Our efforts to advance well-resourced, diverse, safe and welcoming learning environments for public school students in New Jersey and across the country, and to promote racial justice, oppose education privatization, and protect students’ education rights have made us a national leader in the fight to defend and strengthen public education. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our work.
Fighting for Public Education and the Nation’s Students
ELC joined important lawsuits in New Jersey and other states to protect equitable educational opportunities for all public school students this year including:
- C.P. v. New Jersey Department of Education, a federal class action lawsuit seeking to shorten the significant delays in New Jersey’s flawed special education hearing process.
- OKPLAC, Inc. v. Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, which seeks to stop Oklahoma from establishing the country’s first religious public charter school.
- Eidson v. South Carolina Department of Education, which asks the SC Supreme Court to strike down a recently enacted, unconstitutional, private school voucher program in that state.
- ELC advocated for full state aid funding and much needed funding formula review for public schools in New Jersey and New York, and for additional school funding in states across the country.
- We provided advice, information, and referrals to 220+ parents and caregivers through our intake system. In addition, 300+ calls were fielded from social service agencies, school district employees, and other education stakeholders, who called ELC seeking information on school law and other related matters.
- Our organization and staff have been mentioned or quoted in 100+ news stories in both state and national outlets.
- We released 47 e-blasts on various topics and posted information about and links to those blasts on social media.
ELC released 4 publications to assist advocates working in New Jersey and across the country. This year, our major reports focused on school funding and school desegregation.
- Making the Grade: How Fair is School Funding in Your State?
- What Will It Take to Achieve Funding Adequacy for All Michigan Students?
- Equity and Diversity: Defining the Right to Education for the 21st Century
- Money Matters: Evidence Supporting Great Investment in PK-12 Public Education
ELC’s campaign, Public Funds Public Schools, which fights private school vouchers and other diversions of public funding from public education, published 2 policy briefs on school privatization: Let the Illinois ‘Invest in Kids’ Private School Voucher Law Sunset and Keep Public Funds in Texas Public Schools.
PFPS also released a research report, The Fiscal Consequences of Private School Vouchers, which examines the growth in voucher programs and spending in seven states from fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2019, and a fact sheet, The True Cost of Private School Vouchers, which explains that voucher programs are expensive, that spending on vouchers increases over time, and that voucher program costs frequently outpace initial estimates.
ELC hosted 5 webinars in 2023:
- Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws that Protect English Learners’ Rights: An Information Session with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, in collaboration with the New Jersey Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/New Jersey Bilingual Educators (NJTESOL/NJBE) and the New Jersey Consortium for Immigrant Children (NJCIC)
- Money Matters: Evidence Supporting Greater Investment in PK-12 Public Education, in partnership with ETS and the Learning Policy Institute, highlighting new research on the impact of investments in PK-12 public education.
- The Plot to Undermine Public Education: A Conversation with Investigative Reporter Nick Surgey, co-hosted with the Network for Public Education, pulled back the veil on a multi-year attempt to siphon away “billions of tax dollars from public schools.”
These 2 webinars were hosted by Public Funds Public Schools:
- A Conversation with the Editors of The School Voucher Illusion
- The Fiscal Consequences of Private School Vouchers
New Executive Director
ELC welcomed Robert Kim as the organization’s new Executive Director as of March 1, 2023. Read more about Bob here.ELC’s 50th Anniversary
2023 marked ELC’s 50th Anniversary! We celebrated with a panel discussion entitled “Promise and Perils in Public Education: Past, Present, and Future,” featuring Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, NEA Executive Director Kim Anderson, AFTNJ President Donna Chiera, University of South Carolina Professor of Law Derek Black, and Schott Foundation President & CEO Dr. John Jackson, followed by a reception attended by 200 guests.
The program concluded with a farewell to ELC’s longtime Executive Director, David Sciarra, who stepped down earlier this year after 26 years of leading the organization. ELC staff and trustees thanked David for his many years of leadership and fierce advocacy in defense of public education.
Three New Board Members
Dr. Jacqueline Jones, Dr. Kevin Welner, and Dr. Janelle Scott joined our Board of Trustees, bringing experience and expertise in early education, opportunity gaps, school diversity and much more to ELC.
- ELC was honored with a video tribute from Senator Cory Booker, as well as Senate and Assembly Resolutions, on our 50th anniversary. Assemblywoman Mila Jasey presented the Assembly Resolution during the event and spoke eloquently about ELC’s impact.
- ELC’s Research Director, Dr. Danielle Farrie, testified (by invitation) before Pennsylvania’s Basic Education Funding Commission, a bi-partisan group charged with reviewing the distribution of state school aid and addressing issues raised in the William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania Department of Education school finance lawsuit.
- ELC Executive Director Robert Kim was honored by his alma mater, Williams College, with a Bicentennial Medal for his advancements in equity and education during the College’s recent Convocation ceremony.
Help Us Defend Education Rights and Racial Justice in 2024 and Beyond!
Make a donation to ELC. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generous contributions of individuals like you, corporations, and foundations to support our work.
ELC’s partnership with FreeWill, an online estate planning tool, allows our supporters to create their free legal will while supporting our efforts to promote equal educational opportunity, racial justice and students’ rights. Please let us know if you have already included a gift to ELC in your estate planning.
Our supporters are also able to turn their intent into impact by donating stock to ELC. This can help you meet your giving goals, enjoy potential tax benefits, and contribute to ELC’s lasting legacy.
Many thanks to our 2023-24 funders and pro bono partners for supporting our work in 2023!
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications