Why New Jersey (Still) Needs Tenure Reform

Today’s Wall St. Journal reports that Newark Public Schools currently has 453 staff members in the pool of  “educators without placement.” That’s 15% of Newark teachers who receive a total of $35 million per year in salary plus benefits (200 of them make more than $90K a year), certainly a drag on the district's annual $990 million budget.
Some are stuck in the pool due to poor ratings. Many are there because they balked at working longer hours in a school slated for an overhaul, or lost their positions when a school was revamped. 
But some school leaders say requiring principals to recruit from the pool can hurt children academically. [Superintendent Cami] Anderson reported in the spring that teachers in the pool were six times as likely to be rated ineffective as those with permanent spots.
Now, let’s not start beating up on Cami.  Principal Dominique Lee of BRICK Academy, a traditional Newark public school with more principal autonomy because of its status as a renewal school, told the Journal that “it takes unique skills to nurture children facing hunger, inadequate housing and fractured families.” He continued, “In terms of finding the right teachers for our buildings, that population has diminished from the pool. You want to give schools autonomy to find the right staff.”

According to the Journal, teachers in the pool are six times more likely to have "ineffective" ratings as teachers with placement. Also, "many teachers... are there because they balked at longer hours in schools slated for overhauls. Under a union-district agreement, teachers joined the pool if they didn’t agree to a stipend, typically $3,000, for working about an hour more daily, several Saturdays and two weeks in the summer. A union spokesman said some who kept to contract hours and left at 3:05 p.m. were derided by other staffers as 'Three-oh-fivers.'”

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