0:41: First thing is that I think we have to have some form of tenure. Because we don't want folks to be fired for political purposes, retaliatory purposes. Teachers should not have to worry about what they say in a classroom and that they'll be fired because the principal doesn't believe in their political point of view or because they've disagreed with the principal. I think that we have to have protections there for that.
This is really important: here, Chris Christie admits that retaliation from an unfair principal is a genuine concern of a teacher, and that tenure exists to protect against this very real threat. He says, "... we have to have some form of tenure." He sees it as an imperative; we have to have tenure.
Now, the bill that's currently in the NJ Senate, TEACHNJ, specifically prohibits a teacher from appealing a principal's annual review that leads to a revocation of tenure. That review need be based only partially on actually student achievement; the rest is up to the principal. If the review is bad enough, that teacher will lose her tenure. And even though the school will set up a "school improvement panel," the bill grants it no actual powers; every indication is that the principal alone will have enough power to revoke a teacher's tenure through poor reviews:
The revocation of the tenure status of a teacher, assistant principal, or vice-principal shall not be subject to grievance or appeal except where the ground for the grievance or appeal is that the principal failed to adhere substantially to the evaluation process. Any such appeal initiated by an employee shall be directed to an administrative law judge within 30 days of the revocation of the employee’s tenure status. The appeal shall be reviewed by an administrative law judge within 30 days of the receipt of the appeal. [emphasis mine]
TEACHNJ, therefore, is in direct contradiction to Christie's stated reason for keeping tenure in "some form." It offers no protection in the very scenario Christie himself describes: a vindictive principal who fires a teacher based on a personal disagreement. Under TEACHNJ, that principal can strip a teacher's tenure with one bad annual review, and that teacher can never appeal the decision as long as the principal followed procedure.
Unless Christie is prepared to disavow what he said a little more than a year ago, he cannot possibly support TEACHNJ in its current form.
That is, unless he is a huge, huge liar.