Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christie challenges the NJ teachers' unions

The NYTimes' Richard Perez Pena reports on the anticipated State of the State address by NJs Governor Christie:

“I propose that we reward the best teachers, based on merit, at the individual teacher level,” the text of Mr. Christie’s speech reads. “I demand that layoffs, when they occur, be based on a merit system and not merely of seniority.”

“And perhaps the most important step,” it says, “is to give schools more power to remove underperforming teachers.”

I fully agree with him, but am uncertain about one thing. How do you measure merit? I believe anything is possible, but this has been the tricky negotiating point that has been a legitimate concern of teachers' unions across the country.

Also, though he will likely address spending elsewhere in his comments, moving to a merit system does not necessarily reduce spending. A merit system is about improving schools and student achievement. And while that's important, addressing spending is also important.

Tim White

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