Education Law Center and several major NJ education organizations warned the Property Tax Convention Task Force to stay away from the State’s constitutional guarantee of a thorough and efficient education. ELC, along with the Garden State Coalition of Schools, NJ School Boards Association, NJ Education Association and the NJ NAACP, testified before the Task Force on October 29th.

ELC Executive Director David Sciarra emphasized the unprecedented progress New Jersey has made in adequately funding all of its public schools, particularly high poverty and high minority schools. He also noted that this investment is paying off since, by almost every measure, New Jersey delivers public education at a very high level.

“Unlike California and some other states, our constitutional right to “T&E” is strong and vibrant, and has taken New Jersey in the right direction,” Mr. Sciarra said. “Our schools are among the best in the nation, with a real, substantial effort underway to improve the urban or “Abbott” schools serving our poorest, most vulnerable children.”

Mr. Sciarra also noted that New Jersey public schools remain intensely segregated by race and socio-economics, underscoring the importance of the constitutional remedies ordered by the NJ Supreme Court in the landmark Abbott v. Burke case. “While state policies consign minority and poor students to separate, mostly urban schools, the Abbott remedies represent an historic effort to ensure these students at least receive an education comparable to that provided in our most successful, suburban schools,” he said.

Mr. Sciarra told the Task Force that a convention threatens “the most basic civil right” in our constitution – the right to a thorough and efficient education – and the historic effort started over thirty years ago to enforce that right for poor and minority children in our State.

Click here to read ELC Testimony to the Task Force.

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Sharon Krengel
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