So we finally get a peek at the master plan: Chris is going to fire "ineffective" teachers from the public schools. Simultaneously, he's going to cut hundreds of millions of dollars from those same schools. He's also going to jack up teacher benefit contributions and slash teacher pensions.Q. And is tenure reform the most important part of that?A. I see tenure, merit pay and OSA as a bundle. I’d like to see them all go together. By repairing the tenure system, we’ll be able to get rid of some ineffective teachers, but then we’ve got to get effective ones in there and it’s going to be years and years. So that’s why I think OSA is such an important part, and increasing charter schools in urban areas, so that those kids don’t get lost while the fixes of tenure and merit pay are fixing the system in a 10-year horizon.
And yet, somehow, he's going to replace all these "bad" fired teachers with more effective teachers - within ten years! Magically, better teachers will appear in schools, even though job protections, pay, and benefits have all decreased.
Yeah, good luck with that...
Until this happy day, we'll move the kids over to private and charter schools, on the basis of no evidence at all that the teachers in either are any better. And even though it appears the number of seats needed is nowhere close to the number available; here's Gordon MacInnes:
For example, Camden has only six nonpublic schools but 10,888 students in chronically failing schools! Asbury Park has none. Newark’s five parochial elementary schools could serve only a handful of the 20,568 students in failed K-8 schools.Of course, there's absolutely no evidence that these private schools will do any better than the "failing" public schools at educating these children. And the Kean version of OSA allows scholarships for students already enrolled in private schools, which would be completely at odds with what Christie says here; I look forward to his veto.
But don't worry: even if we don't have enough private school slots, we'll be expanding charters, even though charter quality varies widely, so there's no guarantee any of the charter students will go to a better schools - or have a better teacher.
Oh, and let's not forget the Merit Pay Fairy. Christie still won't tell us exactly how he's going to make her appear, but...
This is asinine. You can't fire your way to better school performance in lower-performing, high-poverty schools. The notion that talented people are going to flock to jobs that pay less, have fewer benefits, can be cut at any minute, and come with no workplace protections is absurd on its face. Shipping students out to privates and charters when there is no evidence they do a better job is also inane.
This is not a plan. It is a bunch of reformy bromides that are incoherent and ill-informed. And the real goal is obvious: the deunionization of teaching.