NJEA seeks standing in seniority challenge

Will defend members, schools against political attack

Published on Tuesday, November 15, 2016

WendellToday, NJEA filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s seniority law. That suit, filed earlier this month with the support of an out-of-state advocacy group, names Newark Superintendent Christopher Cerf and Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Kimberley Harrington as defendants. NJEA seeks to become a named defendant in the suit in order to protect the interests of its members.

NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer issued this statement:

“This ideological lawsuit is a blatant political attack on the women and men who have dedicated their lives to educating New Jersey’s students. It has nothing to do with education and everything to do with the anti-public education agenda of its funders.

“We refuse to let an out-of-state special interest group undermine the laws that protect educators, students and New Jersey’s public schools from political interference. We also refuse to leave our members’ rights to be defended by either the Newark School district or the Christie administration, both of which are hostile to our members and very unlikely to offer any real defense.

“It is telling that the Plaintiffs refused our earlier request to intervene without a court order. They have tried to stack the deck in their favor by selecting defendants who are unlikely to defend the law in question. It shows that they do not believe their case is strong enough to stand on its merits. Their transparent effort to avoid real scrutiny is an affront to both our legal system and our democratic ideals.

“As interveners in the case, we will mount a vigorous legal defense of our members’ rights and of the integrity of our public schools. We also value the opportunity to work with AFTNJ, which is intervening on behalf of its members in Newark and elsewhere.”

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