Christie Announces Sweeping N.J. Education Reform

Governor Ready To Test Teachers In Reading And Math

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Determined to turn New Jersey’s education system on its head, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday unveiled a tough-love reform package that will make classroom achievement — not seniority or tenure — the basis for pay hikes and career advancement in Garden State public schools.

Christie is turning his take-no-prisoner’s style to the classroom, demanding a top to bottom overhaul of how New Jersey students learn and teachers teach. And that means undoing tenure, seniority and other union work rules.

“We cannot wait. Your children are sitting in these classrooms today. We cannot wait to make it better,” Christie told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Unqualified teachers will feel the lash. The governor is demanding that teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade actually pass tests in reading and math in order to be certified.

“It might lead to the firing of lousy teachers and bad principals who hurt our children,” Christie said.

The governor wants to turn the old seniority system inside out and put quality teaching ahead of lack-luster performance. He will:

* Prohibit salary scales based on seniority

* Grant raises based on classroom performance

* Give tenure based on classroom performance

“We are paying a fortune for something that is not giving our children the hope and the faith and the trust that their tomorrow can be better than their today,” Christie said.

The governor said he would appoint a task force to come up with standards to measure teacher achievement.

Educational experts applauded the governor’s actions.

“He is with excellence in education for everyone by prioritizing teachers — their brilliance, their art and their skills. We will dramatically improve the quality of education of our kids in New Jersey, particularly our neediest ones,” said Derrell Bradford, director of Excellent Education for Everyone.

The governor needs the state Legislature to approve the changes to seniority and tenure. The rest of the things he did by signing executive orders.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association attacked the governor’s plan saying that once again he was “trying to implement education reform without any input from educators.”

More from Marcia Kramer
  • larry

    We need a MAN in the White House….

  • Bill

    Greatest Governor in America!!!!!!!

  • wayne

    about time, i’ll give you 10:1odds that 50% or more fail basic algebra

  • missy5537

    How dare Christie ensure that teachers read and do math! Next thing, he’ll make them learn how to write and tell time!

    • wayne


  • Aiesha

    How about a little parental involvement and some discipline. When a child is on their cellphone all of class and parents are calling them in the middle of school it’s a little hard to teach them a lesson.

  • SharpShtik

    Communists and socialists (d/b/a Democrats) want everyone to forget that every “right” declared takes away someone else’s right and/or creates an obligation for them. Since at least the 16th and 24th Amendments passed, if not before, America changed from its founding as a vested, intelligent democracy based on an equal vote for equal taxation to an unvested, unintelligent democracy based on representation without taxation and wealth without work. As it is now, government is nothing but organized crime that can reach in and discriminatorily take private property such as income (the fundamental means of production), which is known as the “Third Way” brand of socialism. Common sense and the survival of America as it is constituted, requires that 22+ million government employees (i.e. taxpayer dependents), 60+ million foreign invader and American welfare recipients (i.e. taxpayer dependents) and millions of prisoners (i.e. taxpayer dependents) have work and tax requirements imposed on them.

  • cjh

    I am a non-union teacher in Iowa and I understand the frustrations of the teaching world (33 years). I think the idea the NJ Gov. has presented is a good one but, it will take a ton of work to make it happen. What about the great teacher that is dumped on by the system to work with troubled kids and somehow make things happen. This is the challenge that I deal with each and every day. Do not get me wrong I do enjoy the job and working with these kids but, most systems that deal with paying teachers based on student achievement would force me to look for a different job. We need to find a middle ground that looks at all sides and not one based only on trying to make a school run like a bank. Kids do not respond simply because they want to impress the teacher or the school. They need incentive to improve themselves and their future which will help us all. OH and get this I am a conservative member of the GOP…. hard for some to believe.

  • Sunshine Connie

    “A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association attacked the governor’s plan saying that once again he was “trying to implement education reform without any input from educators.”

    Gov Christy is doing what NJ Educators have failed to do and the proof is in the work product if ignorant children who are not assets to society.

  • lloyd hanna

    Gov. I appreciate your leadership on this issue as well as others. You and Joe S. would do well in 2012.

  • Jerry

    While the teachers need to be held accountable, shouldn’t the parents be held accountable also. No matter how good the teacher is, if that teacher doesn’t get cooperation from the parents to do homework, study, turn off the electronics, read a boo etc., even the best teacher will fail. Most of the blame falls on the parents. I am not a teacher, but a parent of a successful college student

  • mike oodarnik

    I am shocked by the awesomeness of these clear and bold statements by the governor. Wow. Way to Go, Gov!

  • stargirl

    if the democrats can implement health care reform without input from patients, christie can implement education reform without input from educrats.
    education reform is really needed, health care reform wasnt.

  • Mary M.

    Written like a true “educator.” You question the wisdom of tying pay to performance? My GOD, man, do you HEAR yourself???

    • sdw2001

      Mary M.
      Written like a true “educator.” You question the wisdom of tying pay to performance? My GOD, man, do you HEAR yourself???

      —I assume that is directed at me. Please read the replies regarding measuring performance. I’m all for pay for performance.

  • David P Burke

    You would think if you’re doing a piece on education the people at CBS would spell tenure correctly it’s not “tenor”. The support staff was probably educated in New Jersey!

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  • Davd Ippolito

    This guy rocks. We need more Pols like him! Tough minded and willing to take the heat to help our kids!

    • Tea Party Babe

      Hey are you the guitar guy who plays in Central Park?

  • Tamar

    The only problem I have with this is that often times it’s not the teacher alone who is responsible for poor performance in students. Parents don’t make their kids behave, or complain about too much homework; half the kids in the class don’t speak English, etc.

    Other than that, go Big Man.

  • Ylem

    Geoff wrote: Obama could learn a thing or two from Gov Christie

    Gov Christie and Obama are like night and day. Christie shines light on the things wrong with NJ’s unions and cost to the taxpayer, while Obama, like the darkness of night, hides things from us by lying or having the media lie to us.

  • Dave C

    If the kids aren’t learning under particular teachers, there must be some disincentive for them to stay. At least he’s addressing the problem head on.

  • carnigie

    All of us are very fortunate someone like Christie decides to run for higher office. Too bad he’s only one. But if he were to run for president in 2012…?

  • ennovi

    I believe this people need to get on the ladder of success and excellence. There is a old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good for Christie,time to have performance elevated above Union protections.

  • scotfree

    Thank you, fat man, thank you.

  • Brad

    I love the idea of rewarding teachers based on performance rather than seniority. My only concern (as it is with any merit based promotion), is how they will determine the “success” of a teacher. This can’t be based solely on national test score comparison. How will they compare a teacher that teaches in an advanced student classroom against a teacher who is in a remedial classroom environment? I am anxious to see the results.

  • Rick La Greide

    Good intentions is what teachers have but it is clear that this is not enough.

  • Archie

    We cannnot allow a union decide how our children should be educated. And on top of that — look how these unions donate money. To Democrats who give them big pensions and other benefits that are better than what we get in the private sector! Just like Obama Motors donated millions to Demcrats’ campaigns. That should be against the law.

  • joev11

    Christi is the real deal and Liberal heads are exploding all over NJ. The unions can’t do a thing with this guy and he has managed to turn almost the entire population of the State against the Teachers Unions and the thugs that run them.

  • linda

    So does this mean that NJ teachers passed 4 years of college and a student teaching internship, were granted state teaching certificates, were then interviewed and hired by school district administrators where they then taught for several years under supervision by principals after which they passed muster and received tenure… and nobody noticed they didn’t have sufficient math and reading skills? Whose fault would that be?

    • ennovi

      The Unions that basically prevent comprehensive reviews of the teachers once they have tenure. I can assure you there are teachers that will not pass this test, I can bet money on it.

    • JAY

      Linda, that would be the fault f a failed system.. Vouchers, please….

    • pzamo

      the idiots who kept them in their positions after they saw how bad they sucked…and the unions who fight for these morons

  • Andrew

    You are seriously questioning the wisdom in tying pay to performance? That is what pay increases are all about, getting rewarded for the amount of beneficial work you do for an entity. If you work harder, smarter and better than the next person, you should be rewarded with more. This isn’t a communist state were everybody deserves the same, regardless of what they put in to it. It’s obvious you have been taught by the very teachers that will most likely fail their tests and not see many pay increases.

    • sdw2001

      I say again: It depends on how we measure performance. Merit pay in the past has been tied almost exclusively to test scores from year to year. It doesn’t work and is fundamentally not a fair system because it is largely based on factors beyond a teacher’s control.

  • The Three R's

    OK then, your kids will be taught by the bottom 10% and only the bottom 10%.

    • Peter Courtenay Stephens


    • samsmom

      No, kids will be taught by teachers who can teach. Teachers who can will stay, those who can’t will be replaced. It’s like any other job! If you don’t do it well, you should be fired! You shouldn’t be protected just because you made it long enough without getting fired. Good teachers shouldn’t be afraid of this!

  • Rob

    Obviously the person who wrote this story is a product of the poor NJ education system:

    “Christie is turning his take-no-prisoner’s style to the classroom”

    They need to learn the difference between plural and possessive uses of “s” at the end of words. There should be no apostrophe.

    • Mark S

      It IS possessive.

      • Caroline

        The “style” doesn’t belong to the “prisoner’s.” Prisoner, with an ‘s at the end, means that the noun following “prisoner’s” is owned by the one prisoner. The “style” mentioned does not belong to the one prisoner, but Mr. Christie. Therefore, the use of the apostrophe is incorrect. Guess you wouldn’t pass that test, Mark S.

  • iChris

    Gov. Christie! Please come fix the state of Washington next! Or Washington DC! You pick!

  • Geoff

    Obama could learn a thing or two from Gov Christie

    • wayne

      Obama has a Harvard Law degree, he’s incapable of learning anything new!

    • pzam

      obama neeeds to get out of the white house and let christie take over.

  • Vanessa

    What better way to reward performance than by tying pay to performance? Seems the fairest way to go about it. Why should we be paying someone who performs at a sub par level with someone who excels at what they do?

    • pynaetlb

      Too bad that’s not how unions work. They extort their excessively high pay through threats of strikes, and other anti-child measures. They refuse to be rated and held accountable for anything. They think their job is to indoctrinate our kids into the joys of socialism.

      • Cee Vee

        Pynaetlb, Are you saying that I teach Socialism 101 right before phonics class? Stop watching FOX and actually visit a school. What a ridiculous claim you have made!

    • sdw2001

      It depends on how we define and measure “performance.” Basing “performance” on student test scores from year to year can be exceptionally problematic, especially considering that a teacher’s class changes every year. Class makeup is largely beyond a teacher’s control.

    • Allison

      What incentives do teachers have to work in inner city schools, where students don’t have the same language basis or support at home.

      It’s easy to teach in middle and high class homes, where all kids have computers and a parent who sits down does homework, puts dinner on the table, and reads to them before bed.

      What about the places where this doesn’t happen?

      This is a huge reality, that people on the outside do not understand!

      Come in early, teach, manage behavior, stay late, lesson plan, grade, photocopy papers…go home, tired, then do it again the next day…oh yeah, and go to constant meetings that keep you from doing your job, and then talk to me about merit pay.

    • wittywife

      It depends. Some states have full inclusion of special ed students in their classrooms. Some of these students function okay, but others will never pass a spelling test never mind a state exam.

      People assume that these kids are sent off somewhere with a special education teacher, but that’s not the case.

      How about these teachers that are great at working with special ed kids year in and year out, but still can’t get them to ‘perform?’ Their numbers will be drastically dragged down. Does that mean they deserve less pay?

      As someone who has worked in a school for five years, I’ve seen the BEST teachers do amazing jobs in their classrooms, but have five special ed students on IEPs in their classrooms. Some of these kids were barely aware of their surroundings. Should that teacher get less pay?

      How will the new system compensate for that?

  • Lori

    The right man, at the right time … no doubt about it.

  • Patti

    Who is going to teach at risk kids? Who is going to teach special ed? Who is going to teach in areas that lack parental support? How do you prevent administrators from giving their friends the cream of the crop student and the teachers they dislike the students who who choose to play video games til two in the morning rather than study? Who will agree to teach in low achieving areas? (Answer- the worst who are desperate for any job- even one that pays nothing. Now that’s good for the kids, isn’t it?) Teachers already have no time to teach because they spend hours giving and teaching to standardized tests. Follow the money folks. The people benefiting from this are the test makers, not the kids. Do you want to fix education? REQUIRE parental responsibility. The least a parent should do is to commit to getting their kid out of bed and to the bus. Just that much would turn education upside down.

    • mambird

      I agree, I see soo many parents who don’t care as long as their life is not disrupted, education is not important to most. They worry about sports, clubs etc. for the children instead of academics.

    • A. Nonymous

      Hey, why don’t we do this… let’s get completely rid of public schools, give people their income tax money back, and make parents responsible for paying for their kids education. Maybe then they’ll take more responsibility in what their kids do since they’re actually paying for it now.

      • nunya in ct

        Dry up WELFARE. Parents is plural, and is not a voluntary single parent home or pawning off the kid or kids to a grandparent because the single parent has a drug problem. Welfare rewards bad lifestyle choices and those poor kids have virtually no chance because they don’t come from a stable environment, and most minority single parents from the inner city do not place any emphasis on getting an education, and don’t assist their child or children with homework. They are basically doomed.

    • cc roselle

      The money is in the unions and the pols.
      Show us some big bucks from testing services.

      • steve

        NJEA is a monopoly protected from competition by politicians. Give parents a choice where to send their kids. NJEA and it’s members are afraid of competition but continue to claim public schools are the best education for kids. Lets put the best to the test. school vouchers for all kids.

    • Tom

      Patti, I sense a young teacher full of idealistic thoughts. The reality of it is that a lot of parents aren’t that engaged. To your point about teachers not having a lot of time, a lot of parents don’t have time to be involved as much as they should. Your job as an educator is to educate, no excuses. If you don’t have the skills necessary to complete this task, you should be removed. The teachers unions promote tenure and seniority. Why don’t they promote metrics that cause their members to become better professionals? Don’t know, but unions don’t generally want to promote ideas that may cause some of their members to lose their jobs. The conservative people (very large silent majority until now) are tired of this approach and I bet most would spend the same money they are spending now for a system that embodies the ideals that put the children first.

      • Allison

        Teachers are under strict guidelines to teach grade level standards- if your child is 3 levels behind, and you as a parent let it happen, whose fault is that?

        If you knew all the extra time and energy teachers put in, that they were not getting paid for, and sometimes to no avail.

        Impoverished students lack the same support systems, come in with less language development and in general are at a deficit.

        Teachers can only do so much within a given day- in class sizes 20 and up. We try to help all kids- but teachers need parental support.

    • m5cents

      Wow, common sense! It hurts

  • Richard G.

    You used ‘tenor’ on your bullet list as shown at teh 6:05 TV portion. Should be ‘tenure’. are you trying to support the Gov here or is it an example of PS vocabulary gone bad? I’m just sayin’………………………..

    • Charlie

      First thing I noticed when watching. Worthy of teh Onion News Network.

  • Dune

    One person one pension, stop the bloodletting!

  • jakebob

    Christie is the genuine rock star governor. I hope he decides to make a run at the Presidency in 2012, but I understand if he wants to finish fixing New Jersey first and run in 2016…

    I hope our soon-to-be new governor here in Illinois (Bill Brady) handles things the same way Christie does.

  • Christie Announces Sweeping N.J. Education Reform - U.S. Politics Online: A Political Discussion Forum

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  • Fenris Badwulf

    You just know that a disproportionate number of some non-white group will be over represented in this. The progressives (activists, liberals, bolsheviks, whatever you want to call them) will break every rule, subvert every institution, and even rise up from their feather beds to stop this.

    • Tom

      Hate to break it to you Fenris but Republican Governor Christie’s number one “partner in crime” on this is Democratic “(activist, liberal, Bolshevik, whatever you want to call them)” senator Cory Booker. They have both teamed up and put politics aside to make this work. Why can’t you as well?

  • Forrest

    I love this last line:
    A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association attacked the governor’s plan saying that once again he was “trying to implement education reform without any input from educators.”
    We’ve gotten an earful of input from our current crop of “educators”. It’s been nothing but more money and more benefits, STRIKE, after STRIKE after STRIKE, but precious little about actually properly educating our children.

  • Doone

    Now get rid or the multiple pension takers that are draining the taxpayer dry.

  • kat

    What a great idea! As a former public school teacher and a current (7 years) homeschooling mom I am all for testing teachers on their own knowledge. I scored very well on the Praxis with no studying, but was amazed at some of the “professionals” who couldn’t pass it on the 2nd or 3rd try.

    The educational establishment has no credibility, they are top-heavy, wasteful, overpaid, and are too ready to jump on the newest educational bandwagon. Schools should be locally controlled, have heavy parental involvement, and have strict standards. The public unions are only in it for the money and benefits, not the kids.

    • nk

      Yes, but that is why they must pass the Praxis. Many people don’t and they are not allowed to be teachers. I don’t know what else he is wanting. And as you say, the establishment is top heavy….so why not start looking at their effectiveness instead of blaming hard working teachers who are forced to follow whatever bandwagon the crazy administrators jump on as a quick fix?

      • Common_Man

        Gov. Chrisite is not blaming or attacking teachers. He is attacking a corrupted system that allows horrible teachers to keep their positions. By doing this he is actually helping good teachers and he’s making room for more good teachers.

        “Rewarding the bad is punishing the good.” – Ben Franklin

    • shell

      Kat, you make our current Aministration look like a Nursery School of bullies!! Your are right on and so is Christie.!!!!!

    • Tom

      I couldn’t have said it any better. I’m currently a teacher, and there are definitely people who don’t belong in the classroom. The problem is that the pay for teachers isn’t that great, so you don’t have a whole lot of people who want to make it a career. You know the old saying…”If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”

      • Prof TAS

        According to recent surverys easily found on the internet, teachers are like 7 of the the top ten paid jobs.

        The only people who say teachers are underpaid seem to be teachers.

      • steve

        Completely untrue statement. My wife has masters from Drexel U gpa 3.875 with great references and nailed the praxis. She can’t get an elementary school teacher position. we know many people just like her. Teachers with 30 plus years won’t retire and hundreds of applicants put in for 1 opening. Unless you know someone on the board or a principal it is very hard to get and elementary school teacher position. She is left to work for the peanuts at a private school making less than 20k a year no bens or pension and this private school destroys are local school in education. Just about every kid that leaves this private kindergarten and goes to the public school first grade is already at lest a year ahead of public school kids.
        I can personally testify to this. School vouchers for all children. would fix this problem, along with getting rid of abbott schools.

      • steve

        My comment was directed to Tom’s first comment. I agree with Prof TAS.
        Not to mention paid convention days every November on the backs of all tax payers.
        Do all teachers go to this so called teachers convention? Why can’t the teachers have the convention in the summer when kids are out of school? I thought it was all about the children.

      • WBRADY

        I would respectfully disagree…the current wage structure for a job that has a huge summer break, every known holiday off, insurance and pretty good retirement benefits is a BARGAIN for the teacher. As for the monkeys, well, who hired them?

      • Allison

        Agree. There is little incentive to stay in the profession- especially to work in failing schools, where the odds are stacked against teachers.

        The public thinks teachers are miracle workers. If we get your child in 4th grade, reading on a 1st grade level….who let them fall that far behind? The parents did.

        I’m sick of people blaming teachers- how about parents get involved in their child’s education. Problem is poverty, breeds poverty.

    • Anthony

      You are correct that schools are often top-heavy with overpaid administrators that don’t quite earn their salaries. However, all of these cuts to public education have, in my district, not hurt the administrators. TEACHERS have been cut. The 6-figure admins are still there, hardly working, and the teachers are there with larger class sizes, more work, and children are losing. It will get a lot worse before it gets better. This is no quick fix, but please do not believe that Christie’s changes are getting rid of any of the overpaid administrators.

      • Ken Adams

        Anthony, do you go to school board meetings and raise these issues? Boards need input from the public!

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  • jakartaman

    a leader that has common sense and the cajonies to take on the corrupt union and the “Educators”
    Good luck – wish you well!!

    • Cee Vee

      On what basis do you say the union is corrupt? Or are you just repeating something you heard of FOX?

  • dollymadison

    God, I love this man! Can we clone him? We need one in every governor’s office.

  • Andrew C

    Love these liberal plants that try to discredit by posing as a conservative and making off the cuff bigoted comments. STOP IT ALREADY, EVERYBODY IS ON TO YOU!

    • Forrest

      The troll is probably a grossly overpaid teacher on the classroom computer thinking that they’re clever while making their class watch “Fahrenheit 911” and “An Inconvenient Truth” for the nth time.


      speaking of plants….look at all the CC cheerleaders on here….you’re dumber than you sound

      • Al M.

        You have not communicated one intelligent thought on this thread.Tell us why you disagree w/the they could be improved.Your thoughts.
        You come across as angry ,name calling child.Or dim witted.

  • Oblabla

    I only hope that the other 49 states see this. Finally a principle driven politician. Are you sure you don’t want to run in 2012?

    • Paula

      This is the first politician that I believe talks from his heart! No bs, just straight out truth and alot of people don’t like it. We do need more people like this man in every aspect of government! I have already chosen my president for 2012 but this man may change my mind if he runs!

  • georgemancini

    I moved 2 FLORIDA 3 years ago and now i am ready 2 move back GO CHRISTIE

    • m5cents

      Thank god a yankee has finally come to their senses.

  • Christie Announces Sweeping Education Reform. Union Resists It. « Bring Back America

    […] Christie Announces Sweeping Education Reform. Union Resists It. By LarryD OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Determined to turn New Jersey’s education system on its head, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday unveiled a tough-love reform package that will make classroom achievement — not seniority or tenure — the basis for pay hikes and career advancement in Garden State public schools. (Read more) […]

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