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
Comments

One Comment

  1. DM says:

    For all the people who defend the teachers with comments about how teachers pay for they’re own supplies, take work home with them, etc., etc. Well, welcome to the real world. Unbelievable as it may seem to a unionized, liberal teacher, it’s pretty common for lots of us to take work home with us. After hours. On our time. With no extra pay. Guess what? Some of us even have a 2nd job. Can you even imagine the thought? And yes, we even buy things for our work without getting reimbursed from the state. Heresy, you say? Theres more. If we don’t perform we actually may even lose our job. It’s true, comrade!!! We don’t have tenure nor get automatic raises. Yes, I know. its almost too much to take. You won’t believe this either, but a lot of us not only do not get the summer off, we don’t even get to take a vacation. I know this is all a bit much for you to handle so I won’t even get into pensions or healthcare. And I am also aware that you were forced into the teaching profession much as we were forced into our occupations.

  2. JuanValdez says:

    Christie for President.

  3. rodinfla says:

    Lets think about this….. If you can pass the tests, what does it matter to you? Take the test, move on, and teach our children. BUT… if you fail it, get a different job, so we can use your salary to pay the teachers that can teach. Pretty damn obvious who would be moaning about this. Agreed?

  4. rodinfla says:

    Christie is FREAKIN AWESOME! All other pols take note of how well beloved this guy is. He just speaks plain truth. That is what we want! Governance with common sense. GO CHRISTIE!!!!

  5. statstalk says:

    To understand the issues facing education in NJ, one must be fully informed about the quality of education in New Jersey. Some of the most recent National Educational Ranking statistics (Source: http://febp.newamerica.net/k12/rankings/naep4math07) shows New Jersey leads the nation in several areas. New Jersey is:

    Ranked 6th in the Nation for High School Graduation Rate
    Ranked 3rd in the Nation in 4th grade Math Proficiency
    Ranked 2nd in the Nation in 4th grade Reading Proficiency
    Ranked 6th in the Nation in 8th grade Math Proficiency
    Ranked 4th in the Nation in 8th grade Reading Proficiency

    True, we spend a great deal of money to educate our children in New Jersey, but it seems to be paying off. Truth is, there is inequity in school funding – this issue needs to be addressed. The statistics speak loud and clear that the students in New Jersey are succeeding. There is a great deal of “showcasing” going on about how students in NJ deserve better teachers and educational opportunity. Yes, perhaps in several cities/ towns this is true. However, it is NOT TRUE in the majority of school systems in NJ.
    So, should every district be treated the same and punished for the isolated ineffective schools in New Jersey? Reform is needed to fix what is broken. However, broad brush reform that does not differentiate purpose will break what does not need fixing. Informed decisions do not need to be
    showcased. The proof is in the outcome. Spend the time, effort and money fixing what is broken rather than monitoring what continually to work well.

  6. Heywood Jablome says:

    If Christie REALLY wants to do something to improve education he should start a school for Governors and teach them how to run their states!

  7. betty says:

    Great idea..We have some sorry A$$ teachers in it just for the pay check

  8. jgreene says:

    “tenure” is not spelled T E N O R. Check your graphic. Must have been a NJ Teacher who put that graphic together.

  9. Jimmie says:

    Alfred Dimes – You are not the only one who saw it. Must be writers from the NJ education system.

  10. Calibabe says:

    to NK, I bring home work on the weeknights and weekends and do it then and I am not a teacher, I manage a medical practice so it is imperative for me to bring home work, that cannot be done during the day and then hopefully have my things prepared for a Monday morning or other morning for that fact. I don’t get protection from some union, like tenure. I don’t work three years, three months and three days and get a job for life. If I don’t do my job correctly, then I am gone. Simple as that.J

  11. pynaetlb says:

    And now we’ll see just how powerful the socialist teachers union is. You can be sure of one thing, the teachers union would sacrifice every one of our kids to hang on to their over inflated paychecks.

  12. Valentina says:

    I LOVE THIS MAN! But he must stay in NJ to finish what he has begun. Pretty soon NJ will be the model of the rest of the country, but Christie must stay there to finish his business. Something tells me Christie will be one of the most successful governors in the history of the US of A. God bless him!

  13. chesterar says:

    Dear Knuckle-heads @ CBS-New York,
    In your piece on Christie calling for testing of teachers, you don’t spell tenure:
    t-e-n-o-r.
    Y’all taught by a union teacher???

  14. pynaetlb says:

    It’s about time someone sees reality. The quality of our teachers is very low and the only thing keeping them on the pay role is an anti-student union.

  15. Taxed2Much says:

    Everyone from Texas that sees this needs to let Rick Perry know that Texas should follow suit. Putting a few bad teachers out of a job now is a whole lot better than a generation of uneducated lemmings. Try: http://governor.state.tx.us/contact/

    1. A. Nonymous says:

      Unfortunately, we’re stuck with voting against the evil of two lessers in Texas.

  16. TK says:

    While I like what the Governor is doing, Government should not be involved in education. period. In fact, if you want to make education more affordable for everyone, save the state money, and improve the quality for everyone, especially the poor, then get rid of the public education boards and privatize it completely. Then the state can get to the business of government, which is to protect,not provide, private property rights.

  17. pierce says:

    Pause it at the 1:03 mark… It’s suposed to say “give TENURE based on performance.” not TENOR… haha a result of the NJ school system, no doubt

  18. Evan says:

    It might be fair to measure students test score because its hard to measure, but we can certainly make teachers take tests themselves and cut the worst performers.

    Being knowledgable in the subject doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a good teacher, but not knowing the material is a pretty good guarantee you won’t be. If you don’t want to stay up to date, find a new job. Theres plenty of hungry, qualified teachers out there who are more than willing to do the work.

  19. Adrian says:

    Amen Brother!

  20. Alfred Dimes says:

    Am I the only person who saw the word in the slide “tenor” instead of “tenure?” Are these Graphic Artists graduates of NJ schools?

  21. Sam says:

    Don’t most people, except politicians, have to take some sort of test or demonstrate qualifications for thier jobs? If teachers want to remain on the pedestals they, and others, have put themselves on, then they should EARN that recognition.

    Of course, a lot of the blame rests on the shoulders of the parents, many of whom think of our schools as just a place to dump their kids where they’ll watched and fed for a few hours a day.

    Garbage in….garbage out.

  22. psadie says:

    I APPLAUD Gov. Christie. Come to PA and do the same thing here. Our teachers are protected by the unions. There are some teachers that should be fired and yes without pay. The education system is a disgrace as our children pay the price for their ineptness. All the teachers should be tested because they have become fat and lazy and don’t care to teach our children. The NJ Education Association is whining about not having input from the educators. Well you people have not done a damn thing about fixing the problem you just carry on as usual because you have a nice CASH COW and you don’t want to upset the status quo. But you know in your heart what your teachers are like and you continue to protect them instead of putting the students first!!!

  23. nk says:

    Oh Geez, teachers already have to pass reading and math tests to be certified. Just shows how much he even knows about teachers.

    I like Christie, but I think he is picking on teachers. What about a test for administrators and principals on budgeting and educational methods…..

  24. reedkeys says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that jouralists who do articles on the education system can’t help proving the need for education reform. When the writer refers to Christie’s “take-no-prisoner’s” attitude, the simple plural is needed here, not the possessive. The use of hyphens is debatable but clearly the prisoner is not possesing Christie’s attitude. Therefore, “take-no-prisoners” is the correct phrase. May be a little picky, but hey, we are talking about education.

  25. db says:

    good for you. If k-5th grade teachers are scared of a reading and math test, they don’t deserve to teach.

    1. nk says:

      Most states already require teachers to take them before they can be certified. Maybe NJ is different.

  26. JAG says:

    I love him. He’s like the anti-Obama.

    Takes responsibility for his job, find’s the solution with free market forces aka reality, and then gets it done. It’s almost like New Jersey is becoming a meritocracy. Crazy right?

  27. Joyce G says:

    There’s a reason Huntington Learning Centers has their headquarters in New Jersey. Big Market of Failing Kids! Parents have to pay very expensive, and I mean… EXPENSIVE! private tutoring to re-teach what the public school system fails to teach.

  28. albundy says:

    of course the nea is against this. christie is holding them accountable and heaven forbid they have to be qualified to do the job.

  29. AGUSTUS says:

    New Jersey is rated at the very top of education in the United States. Certainly it must have something going on.
    There are already systems in place to get rid of incompetent teachers. The present system gives decent teachers some protection against administrators who seek to fire teachers for either personal, unprofessional reasons, or simply to balance the school budget. Many bright teachers choose the career because of the security. They could have become accountants or engineers, or any number of jobs that pay far more than teacher’s wages.
    Take away the security, and schools like Camden and Newark will find it nearly impossible to hire qualified teachers.

  30. FanfromFlorida says:

    I love Christie! I’m 46 and recently back in college. Without re-education, there is NO way I could remember much less teach. Teachers have become complacent because the unions protect them. As a result, our children are suffering! This includes every child regardless of race, gender or religion! Go Gov Christie!! I love your passion AND conviction!!

  31. abtnancy says:

    NEW JERSEY…..You’ve got a heck of a governor. This guy has guts and he believes in true reform, not spouting a bunch of worthless words. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

  32. samsmom says:

    Christie is amazing! As a parent and a teacher, I LOVE this! I can’t tell you how many incompetent teachers I’ve taught beside! I am an adept and experienced teacher. We who are have nothing to fear from Christie’s plan. The NJEA needs to see that and stop trying to protect teachers who can’t teach!!!

    1. Hugh says:

      You are a not a teacher, or maybe one of the ones that needs to be fired. I could barely make out your thoughts, as your writing skills are that of a four year old.

  33. Ban the UN from our Schools says:

    This tea party babe says this is the wrong end to approach this. CHECK WHAT THEY ARE FORCING TEACHERS TO DO FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. racialcoward says:

    There are NJ public school teachers who can not speak English. How did they pass the PRAXIS tests? This will only apply to white teachers. If they try this on Black teachers Eric Holder’s Justice Department will haul Christi into Federal Court.

  35. Teacher of 35 Years says:

    This is the wrong way to go about things. What if you have a class of DD kids? Gov. Christie, listen to me, I’m Sicilian.. the fish stinks from the head down. Get rid of the wacky federal and international programs that insist we teachers teach socialism, and not skiils, and THEN you can see who is not doing their job. Attacking teachers who have no say in what they do is not going to help. I ought to know I’ve been a teacher for 35 years. All we are doing now is teaching kids UN socialism and the school dept is paying snake oil salesmen consultants to spread their ridiculous ideas.

  36. CaliforniaTeacher says:

    This teacher (me) would be more than happy to take the tests. And, by all means post my scores online. If I fail, I don’t deserve the honor of teaching our children. Bring it on!!!!! “Those who can teach, teach.”

  37. sdw2001 says:

    Speaking as Republican (and PA teacher) that supports most of what the Gov. is doing: Is the Gov. aware of what teachers already have to do to get certified? They ARE tested. The tests are called the Praxis exams. The tests cost the applicants hundreds of dollars and are administered by New Jersey’s own Educational Testing Service, from Princeton! ETS controls most of the nation’s standardized testing market, btw.

    Believe it or not, I’m OK with getting rid of tenure and making teaching salaries more market and performance driven. I’m not a fan of unions, either. That said, banning pay scales based on seniority is unlikely to work. Merit pay has been tried before, and it doesn’t work (if it’s based on student test results). Base it on overall evaluations by supervisors, and we might be on to something.

    This part of the article is laughable:

    “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 those most in need,” said Derrell Bradford, director of Excellent Education for Everyone.

    How is this person an “expert?” Last time I checked, teachers were the experts.

  38. skippy777 says:

    christie is correct but before he can turn the teachers on their ear he must first turn the teachers unions on their ears….it will be tough…these unions manufacture their own version of truth and have millions to back it up

  39. manolo says:

    I LOVE this Guy. Pres Christie 2012 PLEASE!

  40. Willy Brown says:

    Governor Christie,
    Sir you are the only one qualified to give Washington, D.C an enema! You Rock!

  41. skiippy777 says:

    test

  42. Gora Saab says:

    The U.S. Department of Education was formed in 1979. In 1976 the SAT Test started tracking scores by race. In 1976 the Black combined scores for math and reading were at an 860 mean. After more than 30 years of the federal government throwing money at the Back underachievement gap, as well as bussing, head start and other programs sponsored by teachers’ unions the Black combined mean score reported this month is 857 – three points below 1976. What does that tell you about the Dept of Education and the teachers unions? Asian Americans scored a combined mean score of 1100, despite most Asian children coming from cultures where English was not their first language and the English alphabet was not native to them. Yet Asian-Americans scored 526 in reading , as per the results thisa month, while Blacks scored 429. Mexican-Americans scored 454 in reading. What dose that say about Black performance? Does it have anything to do with the fact that more than 7 out of ten Black births are out of wedlock and well more than 50 % of felons and prison inmates are classified as “Negro” by the DOJ? Perhaps intergrating the public schools was not what the teachers unions and political operatives promised it would be. Are we doing a disservice to Blacks in perpetuating an inferior class of Americans that is harming all the other ethnic groups? I don’t know the answers to thiose questions, but I do believe we have to have a serious discussion about a deviant racial subculture in the States that has had a deleterious effect on all phases of society.

    1. nickel says:

      Your comment was one of the most honest and truthful ones of this entire commentary. Congratulations for having the courage to say what most of us know but refuse to admit. The IQ scores of the kids you put in are pretty much what you get out. This might be changed in some extreme cases but not often and certainly not on a mass scale, as your facts clearly point out. Now once we can all stop kidding ourselves and allowing the Unions and the Administration to push their own jobs agenda using the total igorance of these basic facts as an excuse for more and more money from the taxpayers. While the taxpayers want to educate all of our children that isn’t going to happen until we admit the truth and look the problem honestly in the face.

  43. Woodie Hurrin says:

    Finally, A man with Balls. Go Christie

  44. jerzygurl says:

    Keep your eye on Christie, he’s the political rock star of the Republicans..Scratch that.. Political Rock star of the People.

  45. donnie says:

    No. There should not be a Federal Dept. of Education. Leave it to the locals and the States.

  46. Tom says:

    I am currently a teacher, and I totally applaud what the governor is doing. However, I don’t think the problem is with the teachers’ literacy as much as it is with the way teachers are being taught to teach. Everybody has to feel good about themselves, nobody can fail. We’ll give them multiple time to take tests, we’ll use a lot of student driven learning (which just results in chaos) and we won’t hold anybody accountable. It’s tough out there, and we’re not preparing the kids properly. When we return to what we were doing educationally when we were #1, we’ll be great again. And that means putting discipline back in the schools, and concentrating on reading, writing, and arithmetic. We must also hold students accountable. They must realize the consequences of not studying or not doing work. We also should change the way we hire teachers. We should be looking at personality types, because certain personalities can’t really get comfortable in front of a class of 30 students.

  47. Moses871 says:

    The highest education achievements in the world are in Taiwan and South Korea.

    In both of these countries the money is tied to the student.

    THE PARENTS IN THESE COUNTRIES GET VOUCHERS TO SPEND THEIR MONEY ON THE SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE.

    If we had vouchers the free market system would weed the bad teachers and bad schools out by default without any need for testing.

    Democrats always claim to be for choice except when it comes to their precious lock on the teacher’s unions.

    Barack Obama just kicked thousands of minority students out of private schools in the DC area and not a word about it from the media or the race hustlers Al and Jessie.

    The Northeast is finally going to wake up to the fact that LIBERALS have destroyed their states and their childrens’ educational opportunities.

    Welcome to the conservative movement friends. More Christies and LESS Obamas!

    1. Mark Matis says:

      There are other differences between this country and Taiwan or South Korea which have FAR more effect on the quality and results of education, but it is not politically correct to discuss them.

    2. nk says:

      Actually, I think the highest scores are in Finland in which teachers are highly unionized. Same in America. Massachusetts has highly unionized teachers and the highest scores. The south traditionally has little union support for teachers and they have the lowest scores.

      While everyone thinks teachers are so terrible and lazy….how many office workers have to pay for their own copy paper and office supplies. Most teachers spend plenty of their own money on their “office” supplies. How many workers take their work home, and do it in the evenings and weekends?

      1. Prof TAS says:

        Who takes home work. Just about everybody who wants to succeed in today’s workplace. Except for union workers whose jobs are secured.

      2. Prof TAS says:

        Who takes home work. Just about everybody who wants to succeed in today’s workplace. Except for union workers whose jobs are secured.

  48. Moses871 says:

    The highest education achievements in the world are in Taiwan and South Korea.

    In both of these countries the money is tied to the student.

    THE PARENTS GET VOUCHERS TO SPEND THEIR MONEY ON THE SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE.

    If we had vouchers the free market system would weed the bad teachers and bad schools out by default.

    Democrats always claim to be for choice except when it comes to their precious lock on the teacher’s unions.

    Barack Obama just kicked thousands of minority students out of private schools in the DC area and not a word about it from the media or the race hustlers Al and Jessie.

    The Northeast is finally going to wake up to the fact that LIBERALS have destroyed their states and their childrens’ educational opportunities.

    Welcome to the conservative movement friends. More Christies and LESS Obamas!

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