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PROCESS NEEDED FOR PARENTS TO BRING ABBOTT AND NCLB COMPLAINTS

The NJ Department of Education has no easy-to-use process for parents to complain that their children are not receiving the education programs and services required by the Abbott v. Burke rulings and the federal No Child Left Behind law (NCLB).

In written comments to the State Board of Education, ELC is asking the State Board to include procedures for filing, investigating and resolving Abbott and NCLB complaints in proposed revisions to the administrative "controversies and disputes" code.

ELC is also seeking other improvements in the existing complaint procedures to make them fair and "parent friendly."

"Abbott requires New Jersey's high poverty schools to provide the most adequate level of funding, programs, services and facilities of any state in the nation," ELC Senior Attorney Elizabeth Athos stated. "Every child is entitled under the New Jersey Constitution to these educational resources, and it is essential that the DOE have a process in place to quickly investigate and resolve complaints that children are not receiving those constitutional entitlements," she added.

ELC is also raising New Jersey's failure to put in place procedures to investigate and resolve complaints that schools and districts are not providing the remedial education services required by the federal NCLB law. "While New Jersey has assured the federal government that it has such procedures, in reality they don't exist," Ms. Athos stated. "This basic defect in the State's NCLB program must be promptly corrected by the State Board."

Prepared: September 1, 2004