FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is shaking up the state's education system - and the other 49 states ought to take notes.
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Christie is out with a plan to reform New Jersey's public schools... that would base teachers' pay hikes on students' performance, and not seniority or tenure.
The Republican governor wants all teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade to pass tests in reading and math themselves in order to be certified. What a novel concept.
Christie says this could lead to quote "the firing of lousy teachers and bad principals who hurt our children." unquote. Here's a rare politician who gets it.
Under the current system, teachers earn tenure after 3 years on the job. But Christie wants to put an end to that... along with raises based only on seniority or advanced degrees.
And that's not all. He wants to select master teachers - and pay them more. so good teachers stay in the classroom, rather than leaving for administrative jobs that pay more. And he wants to offer merit raises for teachers who work in low-performing schools.
Teachers unions are not too happy with Christie's plan - no surprise there. They don't like the idea of tying teacher evaluations too closely to students' scores - saying other issues play a role, like the students' experiences at home.
But education experts are praising Christie... saying his plan will "dramatically improve" the quality of education in the New Jersey public schools.
The state legislature will have to approve changes to seniority and tenure - but the rest of the things Christie signed into law with executive orders.
Here’s my question to you: Should public school teachers have to pass math and reading tests themselves?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
I'm one of the former young teachers who left after 5 years out of college. Why? The tenured sat in the lounge smoking (it was the '70s) and grousing and telling us whipper-snappers not to work so hard. We were too enthusiastic. Loved the kids, not most of the peers. Not much has changed, has it? You go, Christie.
James in North Carolina writes:
Jack, Certainly they should but the teachers' union would never allow it. The school system exists to serve the teachers, even more so the massive administration and its layers of excess personnel. Who could force the teachers to take the tests? They are above the law.
Mike in New Mexico writes:
I would assume that teachers DID take these tests through college, beginning with the SAT. Had they not passed, they would not have been hired as teachers. I think we should give teachers the benefit of the doubt, and stop trying to politicize the education system. To educate our children, parents must take responsibility… Look at what classes your children are in. Make them study. Turn off the TV and video games. Demand your brats behave.
Jeff in Hawaii writes:
Jack, I think it's a great idea. Growing up in California, I had a soccer coach who taught Government, a football coach who taught Health, a chemistry teacher who majored in English, and a History teacher who knew only what was in our outdated 1953 textbooks. Testing teachers is the only sure way to know if they are competent to lead a class down the path of knowledge, not the path of learning by rote.
Meg in Ohio writes:
I taught high school English for 30 years and was a competent, effective teacher. It took some time on the job to get there, but I did. Tenure and seniority rules need to go, I agree. But there are factors that teachers can't control or influence and the student's readiness to learn and parental support are two of them.
You would think so. Here is another no-brainer: There should not be one single school in America where the wealthiest citizens would be afraid to send their children. This could be known as equality.