Teacher tenure reform took a big step toward passage in the Legislature on Tuesday, as advocates across the spectrum lined up behind a Senate bill that some predicted could replace New Jersey’s century-old tenure law within the week.
It was a regular love-fest before the Senate budget committee for the bill crafted by state Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), the Senate’s education chairman, who has been working on the proposal for the better part of two years.
Support came from groups as disparate the New Jersey Education Association and the conservative New Jersey League of American Families.
Democratic committee members unanimously praised it, as did Republicans.
“We’re going to next send you to the Middle East to take on the peace process,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) told Ruiz.
That’s not to say passage in the Legislature is guaranteed. A competing Assembly bill sponsored by state Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) still stands ready for vote in that chamber, with some key differences from Ruiz’s bill.
While both bills would tie tenure directly to teacher evaluations, Diegnan’s bill wouldn’t go quite as far as Ruiz’s and would give teachers greater protections and grounds to appeal.
Gov. Chris Christie also has yet to say whether he would sign either bill, no sure bet given that neither measure deals with seniority rights for teachers, one of the core issues Christie has long said was a priority.
Read the full story in NJ Spotlight: Education.
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