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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tenure Confusion in NJ Eases; However...

So I got a copy of the actual Ruiz tenure bill here in NJ from someone in the know. I was worried because there was some confusion as to what was actually passed. I can tell you that the bill has some changes from the latest version posted at NJ Spotlight. They are significant, but I wouldn't consider them earth-shattering.

One change is that the state has to provide training not only on the evaluation rubrics, but also on "demonstrations of competence on the evaluation system." I'm not sure if that means the evaluator has to demonstrate competence, or the evaluatee, but whatever.

A more significant change is that if you are rated "partially effective" one year, and if you're then rated "ineffective" the next, you are up on inefficiency charges. The original bill said you had to be "ineffective" two years in a row. Not a small difference.

Other than that, the bills are the same - which means:

  • Seniority is still being used in layoff decisions, and not teacher "effectiveness."
  • There is still due process for all tenured teachers who districts want to fire.
Let's be clear - these are big victories for students and teachers in New Jersey. Given the rhetoric a year ago, I am very, very pleased that these issues are now off the table.

However...

The Ruiz tenure bill, as it stands now, is far from ideal. For all intents and purposes, it institutes an evaluation system that has no evidence to support it. It sets up teachers to be evaluated in categories when there is no research to back up such a scheme. It rushes to implement a testing regime without thorough vetting.

Again: some very pernicious and dangerous nonsense has been removed from the debate. Bravo! Let me be the first to cheer!

But this is far from over. This bill should not pass as it stands.

Stand by for more...

1 comment:

Lorie Caso said...

Any word on the effective date on the bill? I know the Diegnan bill and the Ruiz bill differ there. Also, is there any provision for teacher who move districts? Since leaving the district where he gained tenure originally, my fiancé has Ben RIFed twice.... Will he need i"intensive mentoring" if it happens again? He has been teaching for 9 years!