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Christie faces potential legal fight over school vouchers

Jarrett Renshaw/The Star-Ledger
May 1, 2013

TRENTON — If Gov. Chris Christie gets his coveted pilot school-voucher program through a stubborn Legislature next month, he may quickly find himself battling in another arena: the courtroom.

The Republican governor’s proposal to allow public school students to get vouchers to attend private or parochial school has hit a legislative roadblock, so he’s put a $2 million pilot program in his proposed state budget and hopes to use it as a bargaining chip during talks with Democrats. (more…)

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THREE CAMDEN PARENTS FILE COMPLAINT SEEKING IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO CONSTITUTIONALLY ADEQUATE EDUCATION FOR THEIR CHILDREN

Vargas Vs. CamdenFor Immediate Release

Monday, October 15, 2012

Contact: Patricia Bombelyn, Esq. 732 214 1166

Julio Gomez, Esq. 908 789 1080

October 15th, Trenton, New Jersey – Attorneys for parents of three Camden public school students filed a class action Complaint today with Education Commissioner Cerf, against the Camden Board of Education, seeking the immediate transfer of their children from Camden Public Schools. The parents, Sandra Vargas, Maria Roldan and Gricelda Ruiz maintain that their children are
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being deprived of their state constitutional right to a thorough and efficient education and they are asking that their request for access to a better school be treated with urgency.
“Student outcomes in the schools attended by Keanu, Emmanuel and Freddie consist of astonishing failure rates of 90%, 70% and 60% in both language arts and math. But this should not be a surprise because after a recent series of audits of district functioning, or the inputs, the Commissioner of Education concluded that the district ‘inhibits’ student learning. Thus it is not a question of whether they are being deprived of their fundamental right to a thorough and efficient education, it is whether and for how long New Jersey will tolerate imposing a deprivation on Camden school children. A deprivation that is nothing short of a life sentence to the economic underclass of America,” stated Patricia Bombelyn, Esq., co-counsel for the parents.
Julio Gomez, Esq., co-counsel with Ms. Bombelyn, added, “There are no valid excuses for the conditions in Camden. There has been no shortage of resources for the provision of a quality education in Camden as per pupil
allotments have exceeded $22,000 for the last three years. The dysfunction within the Camden Public Schools has existed and grown worse over the last 10 years, despite literally billions of dollars that have been pumped in over the same span of time. Student output indicators have worsened as resources have increased. The lack of any sense of urgency to address the needs of Camden school children is tolerated only because these are children whose parents lack the resources to send their children to private schools or move.”
Keanu Vargas, 12 years old, a 7th grade student at Pyne Point Family School; Emmanuel Roldan, 8 years old, a 4th grade student at Dudley Elementary School and Freddy Hernandez, 5 years old, in 1st grade at Davis Elementary School, seek certification to represent a class of about 15,000 schoolchildren in Camden.
“My son has only one educational lifetime and it is now,” said Ms. Vargas, adding “how long must he wait to have access to a school that supports

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learning?” “I am proud to be able to join with other parents to demand our children be respected. Our children deserve an education or how will they be able to dream the American dream,” asked Gricelda Ruiz, Freddie Hernandez’ mother. Maria Roldan concluded, “It is a parents’ worst nightmare that state law requires us to send our children to schools in a district that inhibits learning, and if I don’t send him they will fine me or worse.”
The Complaint and Emergent Motion was filed by the New Jersey law firms of Perez & Bombelyn, P.C., of New Brunswick and Gomez LLC, of Westfield, with the Bureau of Controversies and Disputes of the New Jersey Department of Education. Julio Gomez, explained, “The application will be heard and decided by the Commissioner of Education, possibly after an administrative law judge conducts a fact finding hearing, before it reaches the New Jersey Courts.” “We are prepared to see this matter through the judicial system if necessary, but we believe that the Department of Education has the specialized knowledge and experience with Camden to best appreciate how deep the district’s dysfunction is, and how urgent it is for the children to be able to access a high quality education,” added Patricia Bombelyn, Esq.

Fact Sheet Attached.

A Project of the E3 Justice Institute

23 Church Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
732-964-3100 phone
732-964-3104 fax
www.nje3.org

For Additional Information Contact:
Amy Simon
A Simon Says, LLC
973-518-3040 Mobile
amy@asimonsays.com

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New York Union Sues Over Teacher Evaluation System

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The state teachers union has sued New York’s Board of Regents and the education commissioner to stop a new teacher evaluation system that relies more on student performance in standardized tests.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard Platkin has ordered the board and Commissioner John King to show why the disputed regulations shouldn’t be suspended pending a ruling on whether they violate state law. (more…)

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D.C. teachers union to file suit over firings

The Washington Teachers Union will file a class-action lawsuit on behalf of its 241 teachers fired last week for poor performance in the classroom, union President George Parker said Monday.

“The story is not the firings so much as the document upon which the firings are based,” Parker said. “It is a flawed document.” (more…)

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Parents’ Council and Teachers’ Union Sue Over School Zoning and Closings

By JENNIFER MEDINA
The New York Times

A parent council in Manhattan and the city’s teachers’ union sued the Department of Education on Monday, contending that the department had not adequately consulted with the council in deciding which schools to close and in altering school boundaries. (more…)

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Teachers Sue Over Right to Politic

October 11, 2008

By JENNIFER MEDINA

The New York City teachers’ union filed a federal lawsuit on Friday claiming that a policy banning political pins and signs in schools violates teachers’ First Amendment rights by blocking them from political expression.

The lawsuit comes nearly two weeks after the Department of Education sent a memo to principals directing them to enforce the longstanding regulation, which requires that all school staff members show “complete neutrality” while on duty. The policy also prohibits teachers from using school property to promote a candidate. (more…)

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