Education reform ideas: Christie versus the NJEA

| 15 Feb 2012 | 10:07

    Gov. Chris Christie is expected to make education policy a top legislative priority in weeks to come. The New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teachers union and one of Christie's chief adversaries, has released its own platform of ideas to change the school system. Here's a look at the contrasting ideas on some major issues: Teacher tenure: Christie: Tenure would no longer be permanent for teachers who receive it. Teachers could lose tenure based on their evaluations. NJEA: Require teachers to work for four years, instead of the current three, before being eligible for tenure. A mentor would be required in the first year. The union had already proposed moving tenure charge cases from courts to an arbitrator, saying they would be decided more quickly that way. School choice Christie: Allow students easier movement to other public schools. Use corporate tax credits to fund scholarships that students in some low-performing districts could use to pay tuition at other public or private schools. NJEA: Let some colleges approve and regulate charter schools and broaden existing options within school districts or in other public schools. Do not use public money for scholarships to private schools. Standardized tests Christie: Base a large portion of retooled teacher evaluation system on measurable standards, such as students' improvement on standardized tests. NJEA: Do not rely more heavily on standardized tests. Recruiting teachers to troubled schools Christie: Allow low-performing districts to pay higher salaries for top teachers moving from other districts. NJEA: Experienced teachers who switch school districts would be eligible for tenure in two years instead of the current three. Merit pay Christie: Pay teachers partially based on student outcomes, such as performance on standardized tests. NJEA: The union has opposed singling out individual teachers for merit pay based on test scores. Its new plan calls for teacher leaders to be appointed and eligible for higher salaries, a concept similar to one Christie supports. School management Christie: Have education management organizations _ possibly including for-profit companies _ run some struggling schools. NJEA: Do not allow for-profit firms to run public schools in the state.