Newark, NJ — January 15, 2008

Education Law Center (ELC) today launched a new, expanded national initiative on behalf of public school children – Education Justice – as announced by ELC Executive Director David Sciarra. Education Justice (EdJustice) at ELC will support advocates, policymakers, attorneys and others, in states across the nation, who are working to strengthen and improve public schools, especially those schools serving low-income and minority students.

“We are fortunate to have Molly Hunter joining us to develop and lead EdJustice at ELC,” Sciarra said, “and Ellen Boylan will continue our highly successful national preschool project, Starting at 3.” In fact, EdJustice will rely on the Starting at 3 model and expand it to other quality education issues.

Sciarra also noted Hunter’s substantial experience on school funding reform and litigation, education cost studies, and school finance accountability. “Molly is one of the nation’s most respected experts and analysts on a range of critical issues facing our public schools today, especially those serving poor students and those with special needs.”

EdJustice will develop a national program to advance education equity and plans to advocate for: better preK-12 school funding and facilities; implementation of proven educational reforms; and, policies that help schools build the know-how to narrow and close achievement gaps. As ELC has done for 35 years in New Jersey, EdJustice will be assisting advocates to “stand up for public schools students in their states and across the nation,” Hunter said.

EdJustice plans to collaborate with existing organizations that work for equal educational opportunity, such as the Campaign for Educational Equity, the Public Education Network, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law, and the Rural School and Community Trust, among others. “One of our first collaborations will begin immediately,” Hunter said, “as we plan a Quality Education Conference in Washington, DC, this June.” The conference brings together school finance litigators and other advocates who seek to strengthen public schools and keep them public.

On December 18th, Sciarra and Kurt Landgraf, President of Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton announced an agreement for sustained collaboration between the two organizations to support ELC in taking “the first steps toward a nationwide expansion of its current advocacy efforts on behalf of underserved students in New Jersey.” ETS will provide financial support and assistance for ELC’s national initiatives, and ELC will help ETS advance its groundbreaking research and policy agenda aimed at closing the nation’s achievement gap. The first collaboration between the two organizations will be a May 21-22, 2008 ETS symposium on School Finance and the Achievement Gap: Funding Programs that Work.

Education Law Center Press Contacts:
Molly Hunter, Esq.
Director, Education Justice
voice: 973 624-1815 x19

Chantelle Brown
Fundraising and Event Coordinator
voice: 973 624-1815 x12

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Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x240