Why We Need Tenure Reform

Janine Walker Caffrey, Superintendent in Perth Amboy, explains:
There has been much discussion about teacher evaluation and its potential to improve learning in our classrooms. This issue focuses on things like linking teacher tenure and pay to student test scores, and so-called value-added data. There are many disagreements about these measures, but I believe we can agree on the fact that there are certain teachers who just should not be working with children. We don’t want teachers in our classrooms who talk explicitly about sexual acts, or who hit children, put soap in their mouths or curse at them. We certainly don’t want teachers who make repeated sexual advances to other teachers, do drugs at school or fly into rages for no apparent reason. I have active cases like these, and have returned almost all of these teachers to their positions.

How can this be? New Jersey’s tenure law, enacted more than 100 years ago, effectively confers lifetime employment to teachers. And the process to remove tenure is so onerous, it is essentially impossible to do so.