The court battle between two Hoboken school districts: one public and the other, a publicly-funded Charter, is about to get some attention.
Two powerful legal and civil rights organizations have aligned themselves with the Hoboken School District and joined their Appeal to overturn NJ-DOE Acting Commissioner David C. Hespe's March 20, 2015 decision on the 7th/8th grade expansion of HoLa Dual Language Charter School.
They are the nation's leading civil rights organization, the American Civil Liberties Union (NJ Chapter) and New Jersey’s leading legal advocate for public school children, the Education Law Center.
If you haven't heard of the Education Law Center (ELC), you have heard of "Abbott districts"- in fact, Hoboken is one.
In 1981, the ELC filed the Abbott v. Burke case on behalf of all children attending poor and urban schools in New Jersey. In 1990, the NJ Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision in its historic Abbott II ruling and ordered the State to provide the urban school districts with funding at “parity” with suburban schools as well as supplemental programs to address their special needs.
The Abbott v. Burke decisions have been heralded as the most important legal advances for public school children since Brown v. Board of Education.
In addition to parity funding, the decisions led to creation of the successful, high quality Abbott preschool program (like Hoboken's), an extensive schools construction program, and a series of academic and wraparound programs to support at-risk students in the state’s urban school districts.
The ACLU-ELC's 30-page amicus brief is a scathing indictment of the New Jersey Department of Education's handling of the HoLa 's"expansion and renewal*" application. (*Note: every time a charter files an application to expand, it is required to renew it's charter, hence "expansion and renewal")
The ACLU-ELC brief concludes with a single paragraph:
GA note: Parents are not to blame for supporting their school. The problem was and continues to be with the two Commissioners of Education (Cerf, then Hespe) and their capricious implementation, at the district’s expense, of Gov. Christie’s pro-charter agenda.