Both the Senate and Assembly unanimously approved the New Jersey tenure reform bill on Monday. Now all that is left is for Governor Chris Christie to sign the bill. He is expected to sign it, as it addresses one of his top priorities, but has not yet done so.
What does the bill do, exactly? A summary of what the bill does would include that it ties tenure protections directly to teacher evaluations; meaning, teachers with consistently positive ratings earn the protections of tenure and are at risk of losing said protection with two consecutive negative ones. Two consecutive negative ratings could end in the teacher being fired. It also states that test scores will not be the predominant factor in the overall evaluations of the teacher. Teachers who already have tenure would keep it, and new teachers would earn it by completing a yearlong mentorship program and scoring positive reviews for at least two of the next three years. The bill does not include the end of the seniority rule of "last in, first out", that puts the younger teachers at risk of being the first ones susceptible to layoffs, which Governor Christie wanted to get rid of.
The changes made by the tenure reform would take full effect statewide by fall 2014.