- Last Updated: 11:26 AM, June 26, 2012
- Posted: 11:25 AM, June 26, 2012
TRENTON, NJ — A bill to make teacher tenure harder to get and easier to lose was sent to Gov. Christie's desk on Monday after both chambers of the Legislature approved it unanimously.
The Republican Christie administration worked on crafting the bill, and the governor's spokesman praised the effort, indications that the governor will sign it.
For many education reformers, finding ways to remove ineffective teachers is a key to improving schools. The New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, says the problem is not as bad as adversaries say. But the union still found reasons to support the bill.
Under the bill, a teacher would need at least four years on the job to be granted tenure, up from the current three. And a teacher wouldn't get it automatically but would also need high marks on evaluations.
Teachers with repeated poor reviews would be required to go through improvement plans and, if those don't work, face being fired.
Appeals of those firings would go to arbitrators instead of judges, and there would be strict deadlines for when they must be decided, a provision designed to save legal costs and time.
The evaluations also would be more uniform and more rigorous than the ones most districts use now on which educators receive essentially pass or fail grades and nearly all pass. Under the new plan, test score data could be a factor used in determining which teachers are effective and which are not.
However, it doesn't do something many education reform advocates want to see done: make seniority a smaller factor in deciding which educators would lose their jobs in case of layoffs.
Dropping that provision helped get support of teachers unions.