Christie Looks At Autism Schools, 5-Yr Teacher Reviews

PARAMUS, NJ (AP) – Gov. Chris Christie says he wants to see system where teachers are subject to performance reviews every five years.

At a town hall in Paramus on Thursday, he suggested hiring teachers on five-year contracts, allowing schools to review teachers before deciding whether to renew the contracts.

Earlier this week, the Republican called for an end to teacher tenure.

He says teachers should be given enough time to learn their craft but that the current process makes it too difficult to fire bad educators.

The idea of five-year contracts is just that; his office has not made an official proposal yet.

He has also yet to provide specific details on how he will get rid of teacher tenure – something the teacher’s union has vowed to fight.

Christie is also exploring a plan to develop schools that specialize in educating children with autism in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

The governor told his Thursday town hall meeting that the idea would offer a cost-effective alternative to districts trying to create their own special education curriculum.

Autism New Jersey director Linda Meyer told the Statehouse bureau of The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Record it sounds like the governor is aiming for equality and access to education for all.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • NC1001

    So Chris Christie visits the Somerset Hills Learning Center, which has the highest private special education tuition in the state of NJ at over $113,000; add transportation costs and this pricey autism school can push the entire cost to over $150,000 per year–for one student! And the headmaster, Mr. Kevin Brothers has the audacity to claim he has saved taxpayers $30 million. How on earth can he make such a claim when his school is sucking the public taxpayers dry? These schools have been a goldmine for the educational and legal pariahs who feed at the public trough.. And who at the NJDOE was responsibled for approving a 16% tuition hike in 2009-2010 for the Somerset Hills Learning Center?

  • another educator

    Segregating these students is not only far less than cost effective, it is illegal under IDEA. That is the most restrictive environment possible. Yes the rise in the number of individuals with autism is daunting, but the cause is nothing a single state can address. Our duty is to educate and integrate these kids as well as humanly possible. That said, a 5 year contract sounds good to me. We have lost some of our best teachers to budget cuts because they have not achieved tenure, while tenured teachers have been forced into positions they are ill prepared for ( and still remain untrained). We need revision, but small (or large) hubs for autistic kids will not prepare them for society at large, or vice versa, and it will be costly, with likely less than efficacious results.

  • pogo the clown

    How about addressing the problem at the source – that is, the insane increase in Autism births over the last 30 or so years. Those numbers are downright frightening. But the government sidesteps this issue – maybe because the truth is too scary to reveal.

  • One Educator

    Sorry Ms. Meyer, that’s not equality, it’s segregation. New Jersey already has more specialized schools for autism than any other state in the country and it is far from cost-effective, in fact it is one of the biggest drains on school budgets in the present, with tuition costs as well as transportation costs crippling budgets.

    Federal law requires that all students be provided with a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. There is no reason why these students can’t receive the services that they need in their home districts.

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