The Office of the Governor has put out a statement entitled “Christie Education Reform Agenda in Step with Obama Administration on Student Performance and Teacher Evaluation.” In other words, the compromise Race to the Top proposal, which came about as a result of days of negotiations between the DOE and NJEA executives, is out of step with the Obama Administration’s emphasis on linking teacher performance to student performance. Therefore, it seems, Gov. Christie sent in the original, minus concessions.
Example: The original application stated that in the event of teacher lay-offs, seniority would not count, but teacher performance would. The negotiations between NJEA and the DOE resulted in this concession summarized by The Record last Thursday.
When districts must cut staff for budget reasons, the commissioner wanted an employee’s abilities to be a factor in deciding who stays. (NJEA Spokeperson Dawn) Hiltner said the commissioner backed off on that goal, so seniority will continue to determine who keeps jobs.
From Gov. Christie’s cover letter accompanying our final submission:
In the event of a workforce reduction, educational effectiveness, not seniority, will determine which teachers keep their jobs.
Here’s a contest: find a governor who has intoned the name of a sitting President of the opposite party more times than Gov. Christie has evoked the name of President Obama. More fun than contemplating the look on Comm. Schundler’s face right now.
Update: According to the Star-Ledger, “[i]n a West Trenton press conference today, Christie said his Education Commissioner Bret Schundler had made a mistake by announcing an agreement last week with the New Jersey Education Association that included compromises on merit pay, teacher seniority, evaluations and tenure.made a mistake” by agreeing to NJEA concessions.”