By: Lindsey Christ |
Two lawsuits filed this summer challenging teacher tenure laws in New York were consolidated Thursday, but the activists behind the different complaints are not happy to be on the same team. NY1’s Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
They’re supposed to be on the same side, fighting a legal battle against the city, state and teachers’ union, challenging laws that give teachers powerful job protections. But outside a Staten Island courtroom Thursday, the focus was on the bad blood between the different plaintiffs in the case, not on the actual legal challenge.
The lawsuit, brought by the New York City Parents Union, has been combined with another similar suit filed by a different group of parents organized by former CNN anchor Campbell Brown. Both groups say they were inspired by a recent California case, where a judge ruled teacher tenure laws violate children’s educational rights.
A Staten Island judge consolidated the New York cases at the request of the state attorney general.
Before the hearing, the New York City Parents Union group accused Campbell Brown of trying to push them aside and take control of the whole complaint.
“We will not bullied. You will not be allowed to reform your image, make yourself relevant and create your next career on the backs of our children,” said Mona Davids of the New York City Parents Union. “We may be poor, we may be low-income, we may be black and Hispanic, but these are our children, and we will be damned if you push us aside.”
Neither Brown nor the parent plaintiffs she is working with came to the courtroom, but she released a statement saying she welcomes any and all who want to be involved.
One of the parents she’s working with hit back harder, writing “This is a disgusting and ludicrous accusation. I am a parent plaintiff who is up against a really powerful interest and institution. Campbell Brown, with her support, has dramatically improved our chance of success.”
The institution they’re up against is the teachers’ union, whose lawyers plan to ask the judge to dismiss the entire case. Meanwhile, on Thursday, union officials stood on the sidelines and watched the parent plaintiffs fight among themselves.