AFT, AFT New Jersey, Newark Teachers Union File to Intervene in Legal Challenge of State Education Statue Protecting Experienced Teachers

Post date: Nov 17, 2016 3:23:8 AM

NEWARK, N.J.—Today, the Newark Teachers Union, AFT New Jersey and the American Federation of Teachers filed a motion seeking to intervene in a complaint filed by the Partnership for Educational Justice challenging New Jersey's law that aims to protect experienced teachers.As the filing makes clear, the state education commissioner, the attorney general and the superintendent of Newark Public Schools have made public appeals supporting the plaintiffs in this case. It is imperative, therefore, that teachers' and students' interests have real representation in the defense of the existing statute.

"Newark educators know the difference experience makes when it comes to providing a high-quality public education for all students," said John M. Abeigon, president of the Newark Teachers Union. "Our schools are already stretched thin by years of underfunding and political games from Trenton. Adding instability by removing experienced teachers will only hurt our students."

"The plaintiffs' case is about ideology, not evidence," said AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera. "Anti-union partisans—whose evidence-free lawsuits have been dismissed in Minnesota—are colluding with the Christie administration to attack the experienced teachers who have the most to offer students. Parents, teachers and districts are working together to develop strategies to keep experienced teachers in schools rather than finding new ways to undermine and fire them."

"The evidence is clear: Attracting and retaining teachers, and teacher experience, matter for student outcomes," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "That's why one wonders why these wealthy special interest groups have yet again resorted to attacking experienced teachers and stability for schools by pushing a scheme that's already been rejected by courts in California and Minnesota. Indeed, in Newark, even after announcing the last contract with great fanfare, Superintendent Chris Cerf and the Christie administration refused to implement teacher development policies they negotiated, and as state defendants, they agree with the litigants in pressing to destabilize the workforce and public education. That's why we seek to intervene on behalf of students and educators, especially those in our most vulnerable schools. It's time to end these silly, ideological battles and get back to working on proven strategies for public schools. AFT and the NJEA are standing in solidarity as interveners in this case.”

You can read the filing online.