My post today at WHYY’s Newsworks considers union-backed two bills coasting through the NJ State Legislature. One confers tenure-like protection on non-tenured employees like cafeteria aides, security guards, and bus drivers. The other hobbles school boards’ abilities to save money by outsourcing non-instructional functions.
Here’s the good news: New Jersey is lurching forward on issues that impede our public school system. Joining a growing number of other states in the country (including Pennsylvania and Delaware), we’ve reformed tenure, implemented a system of teacher evaluations partially based on student outcomes, and signed on to a more rigorous national curriculum called the Common Core. All these initiatives are intended to protect our best teachers and raise professional and scholastic standards. Ultimately, they’re about providing academic excellence to all schoolchildren.
Here’s the bad news: the New Jersey Legislature seems intent on spending its time proffering ill-conceived legislation that has nothing to do with academic excellence or schoolchildren. One example is Assembly Patrick Diegnan’s charter school proposal. (See last week’s column.) And now two other bills, not new but garnering new momentum, are working their way through the Statehouse.
Read the rest here.