David G. Sciarra

David G. Sciarra is Executive Director of Education Law Center (ELC) in Newark, New Jersey. A noted civil rights lawyer, Sciarra has litigated numerous cases involving socio-economic rights, and his work has resulted in precedent-setting rulings in such areas as affordable housing, shelter for the homeless, and education equity. Since 1996, Sciarra has served as lead counsel for the plaintiff urban students in Abbott v. Burke, New Jersey's landmark school finance case. Sciarra secured the seminal NJ Supreme Court rulings establishing the "Abbott remedies" for improving urban education, which include standards-based education and reform, adequate school funding, high quality preschool, and school facilities financing. Sciarra represented the plaintiffs in Abbott in over 15 separate proceedings before the NJ high court. The New York Times described Abbott v. Burke as "the most significant education case" in the United States since Brown v. Board of Education. Founded in 1973, ELC is among the nation's premier education advocacy organizations for low-income students, students of color, and students with special needs. ELC seeks to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for disadvantaged public school students through policy initiatives, action research, public engagement and legal action. ELC focuses on serving New Jersey's school children, but also provides technical assistance and support to education rights advocates and lawyers across the nation. Sciarra also does research, writing and lecturing on education law and policy in such areas as school finance, early education and school reform.