Christie, NJ Teachers Union Laud New Tenure Law

Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 10:14 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed long-awaited teacher tenure changes into law Monday, but the new statute still retains seniority rules that the Republican has derided during his first two years in office.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Jersey Education Association joined with Christie Monday in celebrating the new law, which includes what the newspaper described as “the most significant changes to teacher tenure rules in a century” for the state. The law links tenure to performance and increases the time it takes to earn the status.
While the law also makes it easier to dismiss bad teachers, it also maintains a seniority system backed by the union that keeps experienced teachers from being laid off before other teachers who may be better but have less time in the system.
Christie would not say Monday whether he would continue his push to eliminate seniority rules, but said he hopes the tenure reform agreed to by the education association would at least help improve relations between his administration and public educators. Association President Barbara Keshishian said she hoped the new friendship would continue as well.
In the past, the education association has spent millions on anti-Christie ads critical of his cuts to school funding, and Christie has accused union officials of engaging in “political thuggery” to push their agenda.

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