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. Bill Chase says:

    Wow this is all really frightening to read. I am a teacher in a supposedly failing district. I find it interesting that we still have kids go to our best colleges, while other kids end up in gangs or in prison. The only correlation I see, is that the kids who succeed have involved parents, the kids who fail have no parents involved in their lives. It’s sick that Christie is blaming teachers. I dont think anyone really knows how much better private schools perform because they aren’t tested by the state. I do know that people who teach at private schools do not have to even go to college for an education degree.

    Private schools can kick kids out. Public can not. Its not fair to compare the two.

    The real reform we need is laws that force parents to be involved. For example…if a teacher says a child should be retained (held back a grade) then it should happen regardless of what the parent thinks. Currently is a parent says no the child moves on to teh next grade! If a parent is requested for a conference, they should be forced to go. It should be child abuse to refuse to attend a conference on your child. If a teacher says a child needs testing for learning or other disabilities then the child should be tested regardless of what the parent thinks. EDUCATORS ARE EXPERTS we go to college to learn about this, but parents say no and we are not allowed to test their child and give them the tools they need to learn!

  2. Bruce Deitrick Price says:

    The man is a radical. Teachers have to know math and reading?! OMG. What will he try next?

    Bruce Deitrick Price

  3. Bill Chase says:

    The flaw in our current system is that parents are no where to be seen!

    Paying teachers based on merit is like paying doctors based on whether or not their patients get better!

    How can y ou EVER expect teachers to be successful when they are teaching kids who’s parents are out selling drugs, in gangs, or just never around?

  4. Brenda says:

    He simply doesn’t know what he is talking about. Is he going to include School Psycs and Speech Pathologists who are on the same salary scale? What about Sp Ed teachers? You can’t have a 2-3 tier payroll-It won’t work and he is using flash in the pan slogan of day lingo to win support.

  5. Kelly says:

    I think EVERYONE should be paid according to their merits. For example, police officers working in high crime areas should be paid less, because obviously they are not getting rid of the criminals!

    What? That’s not fair! There are other FACTORS affecting the crime rate?

    My point exactly! Teachers that are willing to drive to crime invested neighbors and risk their lives to teach minorities should be celebrated, not punished!

    In foreign countries, disruptive students are EXPELLED for good! They are removed from the classroom, leaving the teacher and other students to concentrate on their education.

    In America, loud, rude disruptive students are allowed to remain in the classroom, and disrupt the class!

    Stop blaming the teachers! Blame the rude, disruptive, hip-hop, gangsta wanna-bees!


    1. Allison says:

      Agree! You must be a teacher

  6. Peter says:

    Everyone benefits from school voucherfs — kids, communities, taxpayers — everyone that is except those employed in the education establishment.

    Andfor the record, tenure for public school teachers is obscene!

  7. kdfederalist51 says:

    Wow – teachers that must teach and students that will learn??!! What a novel concept…….

  8. jimbo says:

    Beth, you are part and pascel to this problem. The problem is that kids indeed are not learning how to be good consumers; instead they are lead like sheep and TOLD how to think, act and live. So, NO this is not what we want for our kids. Wake up Beth!

Comments are closed.

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