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Improving NJ's Schools: Recent Education Reform Including Teacher Tenure

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Last August, Governor Chris Christie’s office issued a press release that trumpeted what many regard as Christie’s greatest triumph of his term up until that time: the reform of NJ’s century-old teacher tenure laws. This “sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of the oldest tenure law in the nation,” proclaimed the release, “transforms the existing tenure system to now provide powerful tools to identify effective and ineffective teachers, strengthen the supports available to help all teachers improve their craft, and, for the first time, tie the acquisition, maintenance, and loss of tenure to a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom.”

For those who follow education and politics in the Garden State, this image of consensus over the hot-button issue of teacher tenure is stunning. One wow factor: a key player on this A-team was none other than the leadership of NJ’s major teacher union, the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), stalwart supporters of traditional tenure laws. 

The state’s top education reformers sang in harmony with staunch defenders of the status quo. The NJ Senate and Assembly passed the bill unanimously and then toasted its architect, Senator Teresa Ruiz of Essex County.

Has NJ’s State Legislature and education community reached a true consensus on contentious issues like tenure, teaching evaluations, charter schools, and school choice? And what does the tenure bill’s successful passage mean for other education-related legislation? 

Let’s look more closely at this historic tenure reform bill, called the Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act.

TEACHNJ: past and present—>

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