If you’re from the Garden State, have relatives there, or have been following the debate over reforming tenure and revamping teacher evaluation systems to be based partially on the performance of students, then Gov. Christie’s comments will not have come as a surprise. For some time, Gov. Christie has been engulfed in public feud with the NJ teachers union as his speech last night highlighted:
They said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers union. They were just too powerful. Real teacher tenure reform that demands accountability and ends the guarantee of a job for life regardless of performance would never happen.
This summer, the New Jersey legislature passed and Gov. Christie signed into law a bill which rethinks teacher evaluation systems. While much has been written on the subject from bill supporters and critics, the underlying issue of reforming evaluation systems is occurring in states across the country, some spurred by the enticement to receive more federal funding (i.e. Race to the Top) or waivers from some of NCLB’s most controversial requirements (i.e. all students making AYP by 2014). Regardless of the motivation, we know that teacher evaluation reform is happening.
President Obama’s administration and Gov. Romney’s position on education support rethinking teacher evaluation systems – embracing linking student achievement to teacher performance. CEC has been working on this issue for some time and in 2010 unveiled a series of recommendations in this area which include not using any one single measure (i.e. test score) for any high stakes personnel decision, including all educators in one evaluation system, doing additional research, and others. CEC is currently developing a position on special education teacher evaluation that will be released this fall. Look for more information from CEC on this issue soon!
With the election season in full swing, tell us your reactions to the keynote address and what is going on in your state regarding changes to teacher evaluation systems.