"Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act."
NJEA supports S-1455 (Ruiz)/A-3060 (Diegnan). This legislation is known as the Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey Act (TEACHNJ). This bill will raise the standards for achieving tenure while providing fair dismissal procedures to ensure that employment decisions in our schools are made for the right reasons.
Almost two years ago NJEA announced a proposal to reduce the time and cost of adjudicating tenure cases. Since then, the Association has been working with legislators and stakeholders in the education community to develop legislation to achieve this.
Districts have often cited the cost and length of tenure cases as a reason they did not bring charges against educators the district believed to be ineffective. This bill removes that concern by taking cases out of the court system and placing them before highly qualified arbitrators on an expedited schedule.
The TEACH NJ bill goes even further. This bill makes tenure harder to earn. It lengthens the time to acquire tenure from three years to four years and requires better mentoring and evaluation in the first year to strengthen the induction process. Even though only six out of ten new teachers earn tenure under the current system, some concern remains that districts are not diligent enough in ensuring that only capable, effective educators are granted tenure. The bill addresses this concern.
The bill also maintains critically important due process protections that protect our schools from political interference. No tenured teacher should be fired on a whim, as the result of a personality conflict with an administrator, or for political or other inappropriate reasons. This bill ensures that before any tenured teacher is fired, he or she has the right to a hearing before a highly qualified and neutral third party arbitrator.
In short, this bill makes it harder to earn tenure, and easier to remove tenured teachers who are no longer effective. It provides better support for teachers entering the profession, and fair due process protection for those who have earned tenure, but are subsequently identified as ineffective. It decreases the cost of tenure cases, and ensures that they are heard quickly.
NJEA supports S-1455/A-3060.