March 6, 2012
Better Education for Kids (B4K), a New Brunswick based non-profit supporting common sense, non-partisan education reforms, today strongly endorsed S-1455, the “Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey Act” (TEACH NJ).
“Research shows that great teaching not only increases student learning, it benefits a child for the rest of his or her life. Great teaching and teachers matter, and every classroomshould have one,” said Derrell Bradford, executive director of B4K.
B4K believes tenure reform must include several key elements in order to be effective:
- Tenure must be based on how well someone has taught, and not how long.
- Teachers must be evaluated using multiple measures of student growth.
- There must be a strong emphasis on mentoring and professional development that provides feedback from the evaluation process so teachers can improve.
- There must be a fair, but expeditious, process to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom.
TEACH NJ contains each of these elements in a way that reflects best practices in education policy, many ofwhich have been embraced by several states across the country.
New Jersey’s evaluation system pilot program, which is a companion to this legislation, does not dictate to districts what they must do or how much weight to assign different measurement tools. Rather, it provides the guidelines for what must be measured (student growth) and establishes the use of multiple measurement tools. TEACH NJ ensures that these evaluations have meaning and that tenure will be based on a demonstrated ability to drive student achievement in the classroom.
“This legislation will transform tenure, making it a prestigious, performance-based reward,” said Mike Lilley, executive director of Better Education for New Jersey Kids, the group’s political arm.
Importantly, TEACH NJ also recognizes that new, developing and struggling teachers all need a variety of mentoring and professional development to improve their practice and becomebetter teachers, while also acknowledging that there must be an expedited appeals process with a set time period to allow ineffective teachers to be removed and replaced with effective ones.
Under TEACH NJ, teachers who lose tenure based on consecutive evaluation ratings or ineffective or partially effective without improving the following year can only appeal to an Administrative Law Judge on grounds that the proper evaluation process was not substantially followed. Teachers cannot appeal their individual ratings, which will reduce the time and expense of the process.
About Better Education for Kids
Better Education for Kids, Inc. (B4K) is an independent non-profit organization established to promote education reform in New Jersey. B4K is a 501(c)(4) organization under the Internal Revenue Code and is not affiliated with any political group or committee