Monday, April 18, 2011

Christie on Earned Tenure

To be frank, although I am not the biggest fan of Chris Christie or his policies, I actually support his proposed reformation of teacher tenure. Teacher tenure remains a contested issue in education policy throughout the United States, mostly because it makes it extremely difficult to dismiss terribly ineffective teachers. I think every public school student experienced being stuck in a class taught by an awful teacher who had been teaching for thirty years—a teacher who the school would never be able to fire, no matter how unsuccessful her teaching methods were. 

Christie proposes using teacher evaluations to assess teacher performance, and he also wants to eliminate the last in – first out policy, which results in the dismissal of new teachers over veteran teachers without consideration of performance. The NJ governor claims that he does not want to eliminate teacher tenure, which I am relieved to hear. Hopefully he sticks to this assertion, as I have read in other sources that he has considered more drastic policies than those described in this article, such as completely eliminating tenure. The success of Christie’s plans, however, depends on how he sets up this system of teacher evaluations, which could certainly be viewed by critics as biased and imprecise. Of course, he also has to negotiate with the unions and get legislature to pass his proposals. If he is able to overcome these obstacles, he will be revolutionizing education throughout the state, as well as possibly setting a precedent for the rest of the nation, such as in DC.

Our first priority is the education of children throughout the nation, and effective teachers are the best way to ensure that children receive a quality education. Christie’s tenure policy could pave the way for a more successful public school system due to more efficient and dedicated teachers. DC would hopefully follow suit. This proposal has a long way to go before it can have any effect, but for now I am (surprisingly) hoping that one of Christie’s better policies works out.