The Justice Center’s Education & Law Project seeks to promote, improve and reform public education, from pre-K to 12th grade, to ensure that all children benefit from a high quality education.
2013 was a flashpoint year for the defense of public education, and the Education & Law Project was proud to be on the frontlines. North Carolina’s students, teachers and schools saw themselves under attack as never before. North Carolina’s 2013-15 budget eliminated 9,306 education positions while swelling class sizes, and inadequately providing students and teachers with the resources they deserve. A controversial voucher provision passed by the legislature violated the state constitution’s pledge that public funds would go exclusively to support public education, a move that threatened the foundations of our school system itself. The voucher program proposed to transfer millions of taxpayer money from public schools to unregulated private schools that are not required to meet even basic standards for curriculum, teacher certification, student safety, or non-discrimination.
The Justice Center sought to prevent enactment of this unconstitutional program, leading a public education effort that included producing research papers, bulletins for lawmakers and op-ed pieces showing why sending public money to unaccountable private schools was a poor policy choice. Our staff spoke at press conferences, rallies and community events about the dangers of slashing school budgets. When our efforts to stop the legislation failed, we joined with NCAE to challenge the program in court. Representing 25 plaintiffs from across the state, we filed a lawsuit in December 2013.
Despite a well-funded opposition supported by national groups, the Justice Center and its allies succeeded in convincing the court to issue a preliminary injunction halting the voucher program. The judge found that—as the Education & Law Project had shown through research, and Justice Center litigators had argued in court—a failure to halt the program could cause “irreparable harm.” The lawsuit is continuing, and 2014 promises to be an equally important year for the defense of public education in our state.
Annual Reports on Education & Law
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