While two out of three gubernatorial candidates call for education reform in N.J., including a reevaluation of tenure, the Assembly is now contemplating bill A 4142 (see here and here) which gives non-tenured teachers the right to arbitration if their contracts aren’t renewed. How out of step can you get?
The Garden State Coalition of Schools, and NJSBA have issued angry statements protesting a bill that hikes public education costs and keeps ineffective teachers in the classroom. The GSC says it’s “in conflict with the stated goal of all other legislation which is to reduce the cost of education in New Jersey.” NJSBA Executive Director Marie Bilik says the bill “is a clear example of why the public needs to watch the Legislature, and watch it closely, during an election year.” One of the members of the Education Committee, Assemblyman Scott T. Rumana (R-District 40), told The Record Wednesday that
“First off, we didn’t even have copies of the bill until the morning we walked into the room. So there basically was no time for real review of the bills, but I do have very grave concerns about bill 4142.”
It’s hard to see this bill as anything but a sop to NJEA, which is asking its members to lobby legislators so that the bill gets passed this Fall. The fact that this bill even made it out of committee paints our legislators’ priorities as woefully misaligned with efforts to improve teacher quality, the surest route to higher achievement for our kids.