According to a media advisory released yesterday, three Camden parents whose children attend Camden City Public Schools will file a class action petition on Monday demanding “immediate access to a constitutionally adequate education for their children.”
It’s sort of an inversion of the Abbott litigation, which resulted many years ago in a State Supreme Court ruling that children trapped in poor urban districts were denied access to the same educational opportunities as New Jersey children in wealthier districts. Therefore, ruled the Court, the State must fund our 31 poorest districts (called “Abbotts”) at the same level as our wealthiest. Education Law Center has a terrific history of the litigation and all the decisions on its website.
However, according to the advisory, 30 years later parents are saying that the schools in Camden are still unconstitutionally inadequate (or “thorough and efficient,” per the State Constitution) and demand redress. They don’t appear to be asking for extra funding. They seem to want safe and effective schools, which the Abbott remedy was supposed to provide.
But it doesn’t. Here’s my most recent article on Camden, which gets into some of these issues.
Details are sketchy. We’ll fill them in as this story develops.