Newark, NJ — February 18, 2011

The Obama administration has announced the selection of David Sciarra, Executive Director of Education Law Center, to serve on the Equity and Excellence Commission, newly established by the U.S. Department of Education as instructed by Congress. Sciarra directs ELC’s legal and policy advocacy on behalf of public school children and serves as lead counsel in the landmark Abbott v. Burke litigation.

The 28-member national commission, which was proposed by Congressmen Michael Honda and Chaka Fattah, will meet for the first time on Tuesday, February 22, at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C. 

The Commission is charged with examining public school finance in the 50 states and making recommendations for improving equity, particularly for disadvantaged students, in our nation’s school funding systems. The Commission will also examine the disparities in education resources that give rise to achievement gaps, with a focus on school finance, and make recommendations for increasing educational opportunity by improving school funding equity.

The Commission will hold public meetings, town halls, and hearings across the nation to gather information to inform their recommendations. In May of 2012, the Commission will issue a report to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will deliver the report to Congress.      

Congressmen Fattah and Honda the leading Congressional advocates for school funding equity, commended the Department of Education’s announcement. 

“All our children should have an equal opportunity to achieve prosperity, not just those at the top. Closing our achievement gap, however, is not just about those at the bottom. It is about making sure that every working and middle class neighborhood has a world-class school. The Equity Commission represents an important opportunity to reframe the issue of education equity and raise its profile in the national debate,” Congressman Honda said.

In addition to Sciarra, some of the civil rights and education leaders and scholars selected to serve on the Equity Commission include: Christopher Edley, Linda Darling-Hammond, Eric Hanushek, Ben Jealous, Marc Morial, Michael Rebell, and Thomas Saenz.

For a complete list of Commission members, click here.

About the Education Law Center:

Founded in 1973, ELC advocates for equal educational opportunity and high quality preschool-to-12 public education in the U.S. ELC promotes fair school funding, high quality preschool, safe and adequate school facilities, and policies and practices that improve public education. In 2007, ELC launched Education Justice, a national network and advocacy project to support educational equity efforts in the states and advocate for better federal policies. 

ELC’s legal and policy advocacy, which includes such landmark rulings as Abbott v. Burke, has significantly advanced the provision of fair school funding, high quality early education, safe and adequate school facilities, and school reform, especially to schools serving high concentrations of at-risk students and students with disabilities and other special needs. These successes have, in turn, resulted in strong academic gains and progress in closing student achievement gaps in New Jersey.

For more information on ELC, click here.

Education Law Center Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Policy & Outreach Coordinator
email: skrengel@edlawcenter.org
voice: 973 624-1815 x24


Copyright © 2011 Education Law Center. All Rights Reserved.

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