Other People's Children: The Battle for Justice and Equality in New Jersey's Schools

By Deborah Yaffe | Go to book overview

11
The Children Grow Up

By the early twenty-first century, New Jersey had spent two generations wrestling with the question of equal educational opportunity, but that titanic legal and political struggle had barely touched the lives of the twenty children who were named plaintiffs in Abbott v. Burke. By the time the state supreme court invalidated Governor Jim Florio’s QEA in the 1994 Abbott III decision, all the plaintiff children had left New Jersey’s public schools. Until a newspaper sought them out soon after the 1997 Abbott IV decision, none but Ray Abbott had ever been the subject of a press account; some had never even known they were involved in the case, however peripherally. Growing up is hard work under the best of circumstances, and few of the Abbott children had enjoyed that ideal. Some had suffered early deprivation, at home and in school; some had gotten little adult guidance as they looked ahead to life after graduation. And as they would readily admit years later, some had compounded the damage with shortsighted, self-destructive choices. Nevertheless, their stories bore witness to the indomitable spirit of their parents, to the extraordinary resilience of children, and to the human capacity for growth.


Ray Abbott

Ray Abbott was paroled at the end of 1997, halfway through his eight-year sentence. Jean had stuck by him, bringing their baby daughter on prison visits, and the summer before his release, they were married. In prison, Ray had finally discovered the motivation he had lacked before: eager to

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Other People's Children: The Battle for Justice and Equality in New Jersey's Schools
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • The Plaintiffs and Their Families xiii
  • Introduction- The Inheritance 1
  • Part One - The Beginning Robinson V. Cahill, 1970–1976 7
  • 1 - Jersey City''s Tax War 9
  • 2 - Celebrating the Bicentennial 31
  • Part Two - The Crusade Abbott V. Burke, 1979–1998 57
  • 3 - The True Believer 59
  • 4 - Son of Robinson 86
  • 5 - The Families 110
  • 6 - "the System Is Broken" 145
  • 7 - The Twenty-One/Forty-One Rule 176
  • 8 - The Children of Abbott 214
  • 9 - A Constitutional Right to Astroturf 249
  • Part Three - The Never-Ending Story Implementing Abbott, 1998–2006 279
  • 10 - "We Do Not Run School Systems" 281
  • 11 - The Children Grow Up 304
  • Conclusion - Other People''s Children 322
  • Notes 335
  • Works Cited 351
  • Index 363
  • About the Author 371
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