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Abbott v. Burke Overview

For over 30 years, Education Law Center has served as legal counsel for the plaintiff-class of over 300,000 school-aged children and 60,000 preschoolers in the Abbott v. Burke case.

This litigation has launched one of our nation’s most ambitious and far-reaching efforts to improve public education for poor children and children of color. In fact, the Abbott decisions have been called the most important equal education rulings since Brown v. Board of Education.

The rulings cover 31 low-wealth, urban school districts, some of which, like Camden and Newark, are among the poorest in the United States. To ensure the children in these schools a “thorough and efficient” education, as required by the New Jersey Constitution, the Abbott rulings directed implementation of a comprehensive set of improvements, including adequate K-12 foundational funding, universal preschool for all 3- and 4-year old children, supplemental or at-risk programs and funding, and school-by-school reform of curriculum and instruction.