Statement: AFTNJ’s Donna M. Chiera on Chris Cerf reported resignation

Contact: Nat T. Bender, 908-377-0393,

EDISON…State education Commissioner Chris Cerf will be leaving office, reportedly on March 1.

“We initially had high hopes for a collaborative relationship with state Superintendent Chris Cerf and were encouraged when he made sure of our union’s inclusion on the effective teacher task force. While we wish him well, his reported resignation is also an opportunity to call for two key changes in state education policy.

First, we reiterate our call for a moratorium for the consequences from testing for New Jersey students, districts and school personnel. Based on sound educational policy and concern with over testing of students, AFT President Randi Weingarten brought this issue up nationally and Secretary Arne Duncan agreed to allow states flexibility in the timeline for implementation. Granting this flexibility in New Jersey should be a key issue in the selection of the next Superintendent.

Second, we join the students and parents of Newark, the state’s largest district, in their call for a return to local control including the democratic right to elect an empowered governing school board. Each of the state-run districts should have the resources and support to move towards self-sufficiency and success in student achievement.”

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