The Christie Reform Agenda: Putting New Jersey's Children First By Challenging the System
Demanding Accountability, Rewarding Highly-Effective Teachers and Empowering Parents
Governor Christie has outlined a package of reforms to improve New Jersey public schools by challenging the status quo and transforming a system that has fallen behind. The Governor’s reforms will fundamentally alter New Jersey’s education system to make teacher effectiveness and student achievement the driving forces behind every policy and practice.
Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda will move public education in New Jersey away from an antiquated, ineffective model that props up failing schools and toward a system that demands accountability, rewards highly effective teachers, utilizes performance measures and ensures each and every child receives the quality education they deserve.
Improving Public Schools By Rewarding Effective, High-Quality Teachers and Demanding Accountability in the Classroom
Rewarding Innovative, Effective and High-Quality Teachers. New Jersey needs to attract and retain effective teachers, especially in the state’s most challenging schools and districts.
Today, teacher compensation is determined by years of service or degree and credit accumulation, neither of which accurately measures a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. Further, many current collective bargaining contracts stand in the way of efforts to reward teachers who are getting results, pushing limitations or working in challenging environments.
Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda turns the current system inside out and finally puts effective, quality teaching ahead of seniority and lackluster results:
- Prohibiting salary schedules or compensation policies that reward seniority alone;
- Prohibiting the use of graduate degree accumulation as a basis, in and of itself, for salary increases, except in areas where graduate degrees have proven to be effective markers of improved teacher performance such as math and science;
- Granting schools and districts the flexibility to reward excellence in the classroom and to attract high-quality teachers to low-performing schools or hard-to-fill positions.
Expanding Opportunities for Great Teachers to Succeed. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda expands opportunities available to teachers. Presently, the primary way for a teacher to achieve higher compensation outside of the seniority-based salary guide is to receive graduate credits or to follow a lengthy, cumbersome path to becoming a principal or administrator. Teachers who are innovating and getting results, but wish to stay in the classroom, are given few opportunities to advance professionally. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda changes that.
- Establishing New Credentials and Career Ladders. With the designations of “Master Teacher” and “Master Principal,” these new credentials will provide the opportunity for highly effective teachers to utilize their skills and experience in a variety of additional ways, including mentoring, professional development of peers, or founding a charter school.
- Expanding Opportunities to Receive Updated Certification. This plan will increase the number of alternate route programs for principals and update certification requirements to align with the attainment of skills needed to be an effective leader.
Demanding Accountability and Results for New Jersey’s Children. The Christie Reform plan puts an end to policies that reward teachers who fail over teachers who succeed by measuring performance and paying higher salaries for it.
- Improving Teacher and Leader Effectiveness with Data-Supported Evaluations. Through executive order, Governor Christie will convene the Task Force on Teacher Effectiveness to define and evaluate teacher and leader effectiveness based on key guiding principles. The Task Force will be charged with recommending a system that elevates the role of student learning in evaluations and fairly and transparently assesses teacher and principal performance.
- The Task Force will develop a system of evaluations and definition of educator effectiveness based on multiple measurements of student learning that will comprise at least 50% of the evaluation.
- Evaluations will be developed with broad stakeholder input so the unique needs and circumstances of schools and districts are recognized. Evaluations will provide for locally selected, state-reviewed measurements of progress that are widely-recognized as relating directly to improvements in school climate, teacher effectiveness and student learning.
- The Task Force will be given flexibility to consider additional local input of other measurements of effectiveness for use in the evaluations.
Ensuring Our Children Have Well-Prepared Teachers. Teacher preparation remains a national problem, but is especially serious in New Jersey’s teacher preparation programs. A 2009 study by the well-respected National Council on Teacher Quality gave New Jersey a grade of D for teacher preparation. Elementary teachers who do not possess a minimum knowledge of the subject matter continue to receive teaching certificates.
- Mandating that K-5 and P-3 grade teacher preparation programs administer tests in the science of reading and math knowledge, in addition to the Praxis test, as a requirement for teacher certification.
Empowering Parents with Access to Quality Data and Additional Outreach Efforts
Governor Christie recognizes that through empowerment, parents can become better advocates for quality education for their children and increase accountability in our schools. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda will empower parents to make more informed decisions about their children’s education by providing greater transparency and accountability
- Engaging Families in Their Children’s Education with Improved Access to Information. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda will create greater accountability in New Jersey schools by empowering parents with access to data, including student achievement in the classroom and teacher evaluations via the NJ SMART data system.
- Improving Outreach and Communications Efforts to Parents and Families. Governor Christie’s Reform Agenda will increase
parental involvement through greater outreach and communications efforts, including parent-focused tools such as a help-desk, website, mailings and forums. These tools will be used to educate parents about their rights, responsibilities, opportunities, options and school performance.
- 9/5/12 Governor Christie Receives Education Transformation Task Force Report Outlining Plan to Empower Teachers and Schools
- 1/23/12 Governor Chris Christie Designates Week of January 22, 2012 School Choice Week in New Jersey
- 9/13/11 Christie Administration Takes Action to Implement Building Block of High Academic Standards in New Jersey Schools
- 9/12/11 Governor Chris Christie Outlines Education Reform Agenda Centered on Four Building Blocks for Success in New Jersey's Schools
- 6/9/11 Governor Chris Christie Announces Innovative Transformation Schools Initiative
- 4/29/11 Remarks By Governor Christie At Harvard Graduate School Of Education On April 29, 2011
- 4/13/11 Governor Chris Christie Puts Forward Fundamental Education Reform Legislative Package that Puts Children First and Protects Teachers
- 4/13/11 Democrats & Education Leaders From Around The Country Echo Governor Christie's Call For Needed Tenure Reform
- 4/11/11 Governor Chris Christie Continues to Encourage Shared Sacrifice to Preserve School Employee Jobs During Economic and Budgetary Difficulties
- 4/7/11 Governor Christie on Education: Reinvigorate, Reward, Reform
- 4/7/11 The Christie Reform Agenda: Making 2011 the Year of Education Reform
- 4/7/11 The Year of Education Reform Governor Christie's Reforms Build on a Record of Improving Education in New Jersey
- 4/4/11 Governor Chris Christie Takes Action to Cut Red Tape, Spur Innovation and Increase Flexibility in the Classroom
- 3/25/11 Acting Commissioner Cerf Asks School Leaders to Back Governor's Education Reforms, Tying Student Learning, Teacher Effectiveness to Evaluations
- 3/3/11 Governor Christie Welcomes Recommendations of the New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force as Guide for Reform to Put Results for Children First
- 2/23/11 Governor Christie's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Prioritizes Education, Increasing State Aid in 2011 - The Year of Education Reform in New Jersey. Governor's Budget Increases State Aid for Every School District
- 2/18/11 ENDING A BROKEN TENURE SYSTEM IN NEW JERSEY. Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf outlines the Christie Administration proposals for change during a Feb. 16, 2011 address at Princeton University
- 1/18/11 Christie Administration Demonstrates Commitment to Improving Access to Quality Education With Record Number of New Charter School Approvals
- 11/15/10 Acting Commissioner Orders Review of All Superintendent Contracts; Parsippany Superintendent Contract Not Approved
- 11/1/10 Christie Administration Acts on Superintendent Pay Cap Reforms to Put Students First
- 9/30/10 The Christie Reform Agenda: Education is the Civil Rights Issue of Today
- 9/28/10 The Christie Reform Agenda: Putting New Jersey's Children First By Challenging the System
- 9/28/10 New York Post – "...It's refreshing to see a politician who not only understands the need for serious education reform but is wholly committed to it..."
- 9/28/10 The Christie Reform Agenda: Governor Christie's Reforms Build on a Record of Improving Education in New Jersey
- 9/28/10 FLASHBACK: Governor Christie Puts Children First with Proposal to Cut Out-of-Classroom Costs