Ed Reform Moves Forward in Jersey

Here’s two hopeful signs of education reform in NJ: according to NJ Spotlight, Senator Teresa Ruiz’s tenure reform bill is moving forward; she hopes to have it approved in the Legislature during the lame duck session after the November elections. Also, NJEA’s leadership, according to the Asbury Park Press, has instructed its local units to cooperate with the state’s pilot of value-added models, which tie student growth to teacher evaluations.

Ruiz’s bill (see here) offers the following changes to our current tenure law, which mandates tenure protection to teachers after they’ve employed by a public school district after three years and a day:

In other teacher evaluation news, NJEA Spokesman Steve Baker commented positively on the DOE’s 10-district pilot of tying student test scores to teacher evaluations. “We want it to be successful,” he said. And Deputy Ed Commissioner Andy Smarick said during a presentation to the Senate Education Committee, “Our purpose was to do this with teachers, not to them. We wanted this to be a great partnership.”

The ten districts participating in the pilot are Alexandria, Bergenfield, Elizabeth, Monroe, Ocean City, Cape May, Pemberton, Red Bank, Secaucus, West Deptford, and Woodstown-Pilesgrove. Newark is also involved, although its VAM pilot is funded through a different grant.

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