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

One Comment

  1. T.L. Head says:

    …The Union Thugs must be cut off from the neck down. No questions asked!

  2. Bite me says:

    I think it would be better if we off shored schools. Let teachers in india and china video conference to our students in huge rooms. You could pay them a dollar a day no bennifits and it would save significant amounts of money. Better yet have the kids stay home and they could use there computers or xbox to link in then we would not need a brick and mortar building. All the teachers could then get jobs in the “real world” of business and go out to nice lunches, have time to pee, get “vendor gratuities” of sports tickets and fancy catered dinner parties, etc…. sounds like a plan.

  3. TVio says:

    Don you’re wrong. THe auto industry in the US uses seniority and tenure with its employees – oh wait . . .

  4. JT says:

    I am a teacher in Tennessee. I think Christie is AWESOME. I hope our new Gov will do something similiar.

    1. eric sommer says:

      This must be STANDARD process for all US Public Education… GO! CHRISTIE, GO!!!

    2. Ellen says:

      As someone who once worked in the school system, I would conclude that you must be a great teacher.

  5. MJ says:


  6. Matt says:

    Obviously you dont even know what a “fascist” is or what the term means. You must NJ teacher.

  7. Arby Robinson says:

    Tenure is nothing but a wall to hide behind for teachers that should not be teaching our children. I have many friends that are teachers and the female teachers went into it for the vacations and pensions. They are good teachers but those are the main reasons they do it.

  8. nickel says:

    You go Gov, this is a long overdue change to the educational system. I have been hoping someone would have the guts to take on the monopoly in the teachers unions my entire life. I am the widowed father of four and have been waiting to have the public schools improve for the last thirty years. The change is too late for my kids, they all had to go to private school to get a good education, but by the time I finally finish paying off the cost of that maybe Governor Christie might well make the New Jersey schools so good other parents don’t have to do what I had to do to get my kids a good education. God speed to you New Jersey.

  9. Kathy says:

    It’s about time. We’re told that teaching our children is of utmost importance while at the same time the performance of teachers is never measured and those that achieve tenure can continue to teacher whether they’re lousy at their jobs or not.

  10. Noth says:

    @CCISAFASCIST You obviously have a very limited vocabulary and even more limited wits. “Don’t open your mouth anymore… .or are you a plant? IF so how do you sleep at night?” Haha, patethic, and not to mention you are using plant as an insult? How about the next plant matter you eat chokes you?
    If you had a teeny tiny tad of insight into how results are actually achieved you would probably also understand why this is good.
    My Bet: CCISAFASCIST is a seniority tenured teacher who is no good, and knows he/she will be out of a job if teaching performance actually matters.

  11. CCISAFASCIST says:

    This article is nothing more than a propaganda piece and many of the comments are posted by obvious cheerleaders (or complete morons)

  12. joinamerica says:

    We do have to address the issue of “which kids” are assigned to which teacher. If one teacher is given low performing kids with histories of disruptive behavior and who come from uninvolved or worse, families, that’s not fair. If all teachers start out each school year with a random selection of kids, that’s fair.

    And of course, special needs kids should be evaluated separately. Although, now that the left has successfully created a nation of babies (most classrooms include “special need” students who might benefit from a stern parental hand rather than being encouraged to hide behind often imagined issues) far too much time and school resources are being spent on what was initially, a valuable and constructive program.

  13. PaOpinion says:

    Come to western Pa. Gov Christie. We have a teachers strike going on right now and you’re the PERFECT remedy. They want, want, want in a little blue collar, economically hard hit town and yet our school is in the 40 low percentile. for the WH while you’re at it.

  14. gaymedia says:

    I KNOW!! We should call people we disagree with FAT when they propose getting rid of unqualified people as a first response to over-priced and underacheiving government waste! I SO totally agree with you. You must be in the teacher’s union performing poorly, huh?

  15. Peter says:

    It’s about freakin’ time!!

  16. Jersey John says:

    Christie – Michelle Rhee 2010

    1. Jersey John says:

      2012, not 2010

  17. Confucius says:

    The whole country needs this guy!

    Living in the belly of the beast (SF Bay Area California) born in Jersey City, NJ and living in Sausalito, Ca. (a fantastic place! except for the progressives).

    I want more “Chris Christie’s” throughout the nation.

    Been ostracized in my own community for speaking out, I am not an activist, I do see the lies, obfuscation and destruction.

    I do not buy the progressive/liberal/demo-n-crat vision of the one-world order where “groups” are valued over the “individual”, I believe in liberty and freedom for the individual, not for groups.

    Those who ostracized us are either ignorant of history and the values that our country was built upon or they want to chop us up into tribes and divide us as they have done.

    Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, females, males, rich, poor, gays, straights, greens, etc.

    Never once embracing the we are all American first!!!

    They are part of the government-media complex, inter-locking corporate directorships with government support that seeks to destroy for their own power.

    I say it we destroy the progressives and the government-media complex. Never forget that progressives live within the demo-n-crat party.

    Time to destroy the RINO’s as well for they sell us out but for different reasons.

    Time to destroy them all.

    Have a nice moment….

    1. Steve says:

      Christie for President!

  18. Helloseekers says:

    What makes him a fruitcake, you union tub of goo?

  19. Blue State Voter says:

    I love this man! He is a true, honest-to-goodness leader. (And this is from someone who did NOT vote for him. My mistake, I admit it now). Christie is a no nonsense, sincere Governor whose meaningful priorities are not negotiable. Change that has value—what a concept!

    His greatness is fast tracked for 2012. We have found the next Reagan/JFK for these times.

  20. teacher says:

    They feel and believe that since they “have made it.” their children are ENTITLED to this special treatment.

    Why should these kids work hard when they know that they are going to be allowed to get away with murder.

    This happens everyday in the so could top notch wealthy districts.



    This has been going for a long time.

    No one here has told the whole truth.

    How can excellent teachers pass on knowledge when they work in an environment of disrespect.

    This type of disrespect does not occur in other countries.

    The main reason other countries around the world are surpassing us is because they still have the respect and reverence for their educators that our country use to have 40 or 50 years ago.

    Also, their population is not taught to blame others when they fail to fulfill their responsibilities.

    We have become a population of complainers and cry babies.

    Our children are learning this from us.

    No one here is being absolutely honest.

    Not too long, there was an uprising of parents across the country who were complaining that their children were being given too much homework. There were and there still are debates going on about the merits of homework.

    Homework teachers work ethic and it teaches them about completing a mission and an assigned task.

    Again, this situation is not occurring in other countries.

    The top performing countries assign boatloads of homework.

    The children in other countries are taught to deal with it and accept it because that training is going to prepare them to lead the world.

  21. john m. says:

    As a teacher I am all for it! There need to be safeguards of course, to protect teachers from vindictive or favorite-playing administrators, but in principle we need to start weeding out people who don’t belong in the classroom and taking better care of those who do! Also – look at incentives for the teachers in the tough places and working with at-risk and special kids. I have no issue with special educators making more than me!

    And “no input from educators”? I think they really mean “no input from the teachers unions”.

  22. commonsense247 says:

    @UnionBen your comment is typical of the entitlement generation of big labor, big government, and lefty politics.

  23. Ron says:

    “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.”…….


    Isn’t this what Obuttload did with health care, when he implemented his health care reform without any input from the American voters?

  24. teacher says:

    We need to pause for a moment

  25. Pat says:

    Totally refreshing! I hope he runs for president in ’12 – if the country survives that long.

  26. Sharon Young says:

    Well, I am not a teacher. I retired from the Texas Administration School System.. You have my vote, Gov. Christie for President to lead this country back to sanity!!

  27. Joleen North says:

    I hope this fruitcake runs for president in 2012

  28. Mahakala says:

    What is he thinking? Demanding that teacher be able to read and write. Oh the outrage!

  29. cliff says:

    The public sector in China makes 3x the private sector. So they raise the minimum wage.

    NJ teachers barely make enough to afford to live in the quite expensive state. They get called overpaid by a guy who let tax cuts on anyone making over $400,000 expire, people who already paid an average of 4% effective state tax rate, compared to the 6% effective rate teachers pay. And then ordinary people who have had their jobs/wages/benefits lost to the idealogies (outsourcing, trade liberalization, etc.) that drive this man do his bidding by demanding their neighbors go down the tubes with them, rather than demand the living they deserve for their hard work. And teachers do work hard. They deserve job protection, everybody who works hard does. Charter schools only work because they only take the best and brightest, and thus score higher on the almighty standardized test, fast on its way to becoming the only means of measuring teacher performance. The voucher system will lead to another large transfer of public tax dollars to privately funded institutions with a bottom line mentality. And that mentality is clearly working, just look at our humming economy. Let’s apply that to schools! For the children!

    Teachers are not overpaid, they used to be considered underpaid.

    Our middle class, constituting the majority of the population, is disappearing, struggling because people can’t help but vote and support politicians like Chris Christie who have their interests at the bottom of a large pile.

  30. Scarlet Knight Expatriot says:

    Run for President Governor! Finally, some semblance of sense in the tax & spend political arena dominated by unions & special interests. Thank you for showing the backbone American students deserve – knocking the ignorants out of the “education system” will go a long way to improving teaching & cutting the horrendous waste seen throughout “public education”.

  31. Richard E. Jones says:

    My goodness someone has finally realized that the NEA and AFT are the largest collection of overpaid underworked socialists in the free world

  32. fantum says:

    Christie should tell the teachers to get on board or he will start pushing privatization!

  33. Anna Keppa says:

    I hereby declare, with the Powesr invested in me by nobody at all, that women’s bathing suits that reveal cemel toes, and bras that reveal nipples, to be “indecent”.

  34. Teach says:

    Let’s all jump on teachers! Perfect scapegoat for uninvolved parents.

  35. Gedempol says:

    The Teachers unions are the children’s worst enemy. These unions must be dismantled forthwith to save the lives of our children from their powerful strangle-hold.

  36. Jeff says:

    I just think it is interesting that when the TV station displayed the bullet points, that they misspelled tenure as tenor.

  37. John says:

    President Christie has a great ring to it in 2016…

  38. BDT says:

    I am a veteran teacher in another state, so I cannot speak for NJ teachers or the system there; however, there are many points both good and completely erroneous in the comments section.

    1. I took a Praxxis II and scored perfect…perfect…in my content area. I for one applaud the testing initiative if it is not already in place.

    2. Merit-based pay is difficult to utilize in an education setting. If one bases the pay on test scores, many teachers (like me) will have to seek different schools. I took the responsibility and challenge to teach in an extremely poor, 100% minority school. My efforts have been rewarded with improved test scores, but they are still fairly low. Most of my students come from single-parent homes or live with grandparents. 98% are below the poverty line. Most come from homes where the guardian does not have a high school education. To say my job is daunting is an understatement of Obamian proportions.

    3. Teachers do not “get the summer off”. We work on a contractual basis for a set number of days. Those summers are typically spent in a continuing education classroom, or some other workshop, trying to learn the latest “strategy” that is being mandated by state or federal education agencies.

    4. I will gladly give up my tenure when I can’t lose my job because of political corruption.

    While I am all for education reform, I want it to be done logically and without the taint of political grandstanding as the catalyst. Gut the beast from the top down, not the bottom up. If I need a test to prove my competence, why shouldn’t the politicians and cronies who hold the purse strings and make the decision show theirs? How many different agencies, offices, and administrators are really needed?

    Fix it, but fix it correctly. Making teachers out to be lazy, unintelligent moochers is despicable when the blame for the mess is far more widespread.

  39. Bot says:

    I was a Board Member of a Morris County High School Board of Education. I asked to see the PRAXIS scores for new hires. The Board President and Superintendent said I had no legal right to do so. So I contacted the NJ School Board Assn and they affirmed that I did have the right.

    Guess what, next year we had two PhD’s and several Ivy League teachers on staff

  40. Roxanne says:

    I love this guy! He doesn’t back down. I wish I could vote for him.

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