Under Governor Chris Christie's proposed education reforms, New Jersey may soon see the end of teacher tenure. Administrative and legislative officials confirm that much of Christie's reforms could become law in the first half of 2012, writes Jason Method at the Statehouse Bureau.
Christie is also looking for more charter schools or private-public schools in urban areas.
State Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, head of the Senate Education Committee, believes there is growing momentum for an assortment of reform measures as many school districts could see an end to annual budget votes.
"It doesn't matter where you're coming from, as a union rep, from the principal's association or a teacher, we're all talking about what needs to get done to ensure we have great student outcomes," Ruiz said.
Christie declared 2011 as the Year of Education Reform. The governor said the kinds of reforms he wants have been heralded by President Obama and U.S. Education secretary Arne Duncan.
"If Christopher Cerf, Arne Duncan and Barack Obama can agree with Chris Christie, then surely, surely we can put aside any other disagreements we have and implement these reforms," Christie said.
"It's time for the Legislature to step up."
But Christie is going to have to wait. New Jersey lawmakers are not expected to enact education reform proposals before the end of the current legislative session, writes Phil Gregory at Newsworks.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean said he is disappointed:
"We could have had for the first time a merit-based, performance-based, achievement-based system of making sure that kids had the opportunity to learn and could graduate from high school going straight to college or straight to the work force and be qualified for that opportunity."
Senate President Steve Sweeney said he is close to reaching an agreement with Gov. Chris Christie on merit pay.
"We would give additional dollars to that school but for very limited uses so that it might make the teachers' job easier," Sweeney said.
"Maybe it's improvement of technology. We would have a category of what they would spend the money on."
However, Sweeney has been adamant that he won't agree to ending the reliance on seniority to determine teacher wages and retention.