If you can’t read, write, or do basic math, you sure can’t teach it. That is the logic behind Governor Chris Christie’s reform package that will require teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade pass tests in reading and math in order to be certified.
Everyone but the teachers’ unions and incompetent teachers should be happy with Sweeping N.J. Education Reform
Christie is turning his take-no-prisoner’s style to the classroom, demanding a top to bottom overhaul of how New Jersey students learn and teachers teach. And that means undoing tenure, seniority and other union work rules.
“We cannot wait. Your children are sitting in these classrooms today. We cannot wait to make it better,” Christie told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
The governor wants to turn the old seniority system inside out and put quality teaching ahead of lack-luster performance. He will:
- Prohibit salary scales based on seniority
- Grant raises based on classroom performance
- Give tenure based on classroom performance
Educational experts applauded the governor’s actions.
The governor needs the state Legislature to approve the changes to seniority and tenure. The rest of the things he did by signing executive orders.
Fancy that, teachers have to be able to read and write. The only thing that puzzles me is why only kindergarten through fifth grade teachers need certification tests.
Bear in mind this is hardly an ideal approach. In a free market there would not be teachers’ unions in the first place and schools would easily get rid of incompetent teachers at will.
However, pragmatically speaking, it is extremely difficult to get to where we need to go in a single step. Changing seniority and tenure rules is a welcome step in the right direction.
Moreover, unless you are a union member, you have to adore Christie’s willingness to play hardball. We need Christie in the Whitehouse, not a state capitol.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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