I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Friday, May 20, 2011

What's The Rush?

Apparently, it is critically important for New Jersey to put a teacher evaluation system that all research shows will not work into place right away.
A new system to evaluate public school teachers will be introduced this fall as a pilot program in some districts across the state, a department of education official said this morning.
While testifying before the state Senate Education Committee, Andrew Smarick said the Christie Administration hopes to introduce the new system in which teachers would be evaluted partially on test scores and partially on classroom observations to all districts by the start of the 2012 school year.
The governor has proposed legislation that would link teachers’ performance under the new system to decisions about tenure, merit pay and layoffs. The Christie-appointed New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force crafted the revamped evaluation tool, unveiled in March. [emphasis mine]
Oh, really? Because when I looked at what came out in March, I didn't see a "tool" at all. I saw a bunch of vague ideas about using standardized tests to rank some teachers, along with observations by administrators (which happen to be used now anyway). Much of the report basically says "we'll work out the details later..."

Well, now Christie and Cerf want to shove this down the throats of districts in about three months. There won't be time for hearings, there won't be time for expert testimony, there won't be time for all stakeholders to weigh in and shape the program, and their sure won't be time to actually assess the effectiveness of the program (see the irony?).

As I and others have hammered over and over again, the use of these standardized tests is contradicted by all serious research. The legal entanglements will be astonishing.  So what's the rush? Why not take the time to do this right?

Here's why:

He's getting a ton of love from the national Republican elite, but Chris Christie's approval ratings at home are softening, according to a new poll.
A Monmouth University survey released Wednesday shows the New Jersey governor with a 47 percent approval rating among state residents, compared to 49 percent who disapprove of his performance. Christie's approval rating is the same as it was in a February Monmouth poll, but his negative number has climbed by 9 points since then.
He never really had a mandate, because he ran on lies - look at the top of this blog for his biggest one. Now he's being found out and he's sinking fast. He's going to push this stuff through as hard as he can as early as he can, because he's getting the feeling it's all going downhill from here.

I hope he's right.


Anonymous said...

Real reform doesn't happen this quickly. Real reform takes time, is well planned, is based on sound research and past practice. This is not reform. It's a coup—and it's a crime!

Teacher Mom said...

Well, it's happened. Our superintendent has announced that the failing schools up for restructuring this year under NCLB will have their entire staff fired and staff will have to re-apply for their jobs. The school will also have extended day, extended year, and a merit pay program. Basically it'll be a mixed bag of every evil reform. My school will be on the list next year. I'm taking it as an opportunity to transfer. Nowhere to go but up.

thinker said...

I have said since the beginning that this has to play out publicly before it gets any better. You can say all you want that these reforms aren't going to work but, imho, people need to see it with their own eyes before they will believe it. In five years (maybe a little longer, depending on the lawsuits), this will all be a distant memory after it is tried and fails miserably and publicly. So as far as I'm concerned, it may as well start sooner rather than later because it isn't going to go away until it is tried and fails. I just feel badly for those children (and adults-teachers and parents) who end up as collateral damage in this ridiculousness...and I may be a part of that crowd :(