The American Federation of Teachers New Jersey, today endorsed Ambassador Phil Murphy for Governor of New Jersey.
AFT New Jersey represents more than 30,000 educators from pre-kindergarten through higher education. Ambassador Murphy is committed to “getting education right” by developing and cultivating policies that will support students and educators, not obstruct and punish, according to AFT New Jersey president Donna M. Chiera, a retired elementary school teacher. “We have been calling for a moratorium on the impact of high stakes testing and he agrees with us,” said Chiera. “Who would have thought we would the chance to have a governor in New Jersey who actually listens to the people in the classrooms and the faculty on our campuses? We are the ones working with students every day and New Jersey deserve a governor who will put politics aside, respect the voices of professional educators and do what is right for students.”
“If we don’t get our economy right, we don’t get New Jersey right — and we can’t get our economy right if we don’t get education right,” said Murphy. “Strong public schools and affordable institutions of higher education are critical for us to create the future New Jersey needs. I am committed to working with our dedicated educators to make sure every student in our state has the tools they need to compete and succeed in a growing economy.”
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Within AFT New Jersey, the College Council represents more than 10,000 faculty, adjunct faculty, librarians and professional staff at nine state colleges and universities. Murphy’s platform includes innovating to reduce student debt and support higher education, according to College Council president Tim Haresign a Stockton University biology professor. “He proposes creating incentives for private sector employers to provide student loan relief as a core employee benefit and offering state-based refinancing at lower rates through a new public bank,” said Haresign. “We need a governor who will innovate to assist students and increase direct institutional support for higher education as an investment in our future.”
The Newark Teachers Union represents classroom teachers, aides and clerks in the state’s largest school district. “Ambassador Murphy has pledged to ‘give local communities a stronger voice in education decisions by working to end state takeovers and abandoning the top-down approach of the Christie administration,’” said Newark Teachers Union President John M. Abeigon. “He favors expanding critical pre-kindergarten education to all families, ending high-stakes testing like PAARC and providing adequate funding for school. Our students, families and educators in Newark have been neglected under the current governor and I am proud to stand with the man I hope will be a much-needed education governor.”
AFT New Jersey’s largest local is the Rutgers AAUP-AFT faculty chapter, representing more than 5,000 professors, librarians, graduate student employees, post-docs, and Equal Opportunity Fund (EOF) counselors. “Phil Murphy’s attention to detail and his focus on the issues affecting higher education today make him our clear choice as Democratic nominee for governor,” said David M. Hughes, anthropology professor and AAUP-AFT president. “He is committed to returning public support to Rutgers, our students and our faculty. Phil is clearly on this side with all workers, upholding their rights to organize and earn a living wage of at least $15.”