New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that makes it harder for teachers in the state to earn tenure and easier for them to lose it.
The bill lengthens to four years from three the time it will take to earn tenure. Teachers could face the possible loss of the job security if they score poorly in evaluations.
The measure was sponsored by Democrats, the majority party in the state Legislature, and Republicans. Christie, a first- term Republican, said in June that he opposed a provision in the bill that would preserve “last-in, first-out,” a protection that requires districts firing multiple teachers to base their selection on seniority, rather than on performance.
The governor, 49, has battled with the New Jersey Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, over his proposals. The union supported the tenure legislation once an end to the seniority rule was removed. Barbara Keshishian, president of the NJEA, attended Christie’s bill-signing at a middle school in Middlesex.
Under the bill, student test scores will be part of a teacher’s evaluation. Any educator who receives two “ineffective” ratings, which is the lowest of four tiers, on two consecutive annual evaluations will face tenure charges. Binding arbitration would be required for any contested tenure cases.
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