Trenton, New Jersey — Six Newark parents yesterday opposed motions to dismiss HG v. Harrington, the lawsuit they filed last November challenging the constitutionality of New Jersey’s quality-blind “last in, first out” (LIFO) teacher layoff law.
The motions to dismiss the case were filed earlier this month by local and national teachers unions, who intervened as defendants in the case last December. Oral arguments on the motions to dismiss are scheduled for 2pm on May 3 before the Mercer County Superior Court. Defendants from Newark Public Schools and the New Jersey Department of Education did not move to dismiss the case.
“The teachers unions clearly are not looking out for students’ best interests,” said Kathleen Reilly, attorney with Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, one of the law firms representing the Newark parents pro bono. “With education budget deficits in the tens of millions of dollars, the court urgently needs to hear these parents’ concerns about laws that require schools to keep ineffective teachers while letting effective ones go. If students’ educational rights are valued, these laws cannot stand.”
In their answer to the lawsuit, defendants from the Newark Public Schools overwhelmingly conceded that the LIFO law harms students, acknowledging that enforcement of LIFO in Newark will remove quality teachers, which leads to lower test scores, lower high school graduation rates, lower college attendance rates, and sharply reduced lifetime earnings. They also admit that the current practice of keeping ineffective teachers on the district payroll, including those in a pool of “educators without placement sites” (EWPS) is harmful and unsustainable, and that the EWPS pool would be wholly unnecessary were it not for LIFO.
To learn more about the parent-led lawsuit to end LIFO in New Jersey, please go to edjustice.org/nj. All legal filings related to HG v. Harrington are available online here.