Earlier today, I posted a blog about a bill in the New Jersey legislature that would remove seniority and tenure from teachers in that state and require that they be fired after two consecutive negative evaluations.. I just received the latest report from a reader in New Jersey.
You will notice two bad things about this “victory”:
1. Teachers and school boards have been pitted against each other. This is wrong. They should be working together.
2. Teachers have been pushed so far into a corner defending due process and seniority that they have acceded to demands to be evaluated by test scores. Interesting that the US will be the only nation to accept this untried, unproven teach-to-the-test approach to teacher evaluation.
I have reports from two teachers in New Jersey. There are differences in what they say, but there is concurrence that the political leadership of the state wants to cut teachersdown by making their jobs less secure. Bear in mind that New Jetsey is consistently among the top three states (the others being Massachusetts and Connecticut) on the federal NAEP. Why teachers need to be humbled in a high-performing state is anyone’s guess (I’d say the same in any state, actually).
So, from teacher #1:
Here’s an update regarding how NJ tenure reform bill S-1455 fared in committee today.
The text of tenure reform bill S-1455 as posted on the legislative web site at this hour still includes a provision requiring principals to revoke teacher tenure after two low performance evaluations.
However, today the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee advanced a substitute bill in which unilateral tenure revocation no longer appears to be a factor. Instead, an inefficiency charge leveled against a teacher after two low performance ratings would result in binding arbitration. The New Jersey Education Association supports the substitute version of the bill because, in addition to respecting due process rights, the bill no longer aims to weaken seniority.
The New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) is not happy to know that experienced, more highly paid teachers will retain the benefit of seniority. NJSBA governmental relations director Michael Vrancik was quoted as saying, “The war is on. There’s more to fight.” http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/state_senate_committee_approve.html
And now another take from teacher #2: