Post-CA Tenure Decision, Kyrillos Seeks Repeat in New Jersey

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Joe Kyrillos at 2012 RNC in Tampa, Florida

Joe Kyrillos at 2012 RNC in Tampa, Florida

Following an earth-shattering decision by the California state court striking down that state’s tenure law, state Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth) says he’s reaching out to an advocacy group involved in the West Coast case to help accomplish the same result in New Jersey.

He’ll start by re-introducing S-2171, “The School Children First Act.”

“This legislature should seize this opportunity and momentum to pass full tenure reform to improve education and lower property taxes in New Jersey,” Sen. Kyrillos said in a statement released by the Senate GOP office. “This overhaul bill allows public school districts to best serve their students and communities by ensuring only the best teachers, administrators and staff members are the ones educating and nurturing our next generation.”

Past efforts have been examples of tokenism at best and a waste of time for the more cynical among you.

Kyrillos says his legislation would accomplish the following: 

· Eliminate last-in, first-out (LIFO) seniority protections that force schools to ignore educator effectiveness and layoff high-performing younger teachers, instead of more expensive, ineffective ones;

· Require school districts to adopt merit-based compensation schedules, whereby public school employees are paid and retained based on their performances, contributions and growth;

· Allow school principals to assign teachers to classrooms where they will be effective; and

· Alleviate tenure-law obstacles for school districts seeking to become more efficient by consolidating or merging services.

It’s a tough issue, Save Jerseyans.

Why? Because it’s easy enough to say “let’s reward good teachers and reform/penalize the bad ones,” but how do you effectively evaluate teacher performance when the good teachers find their classrooms filled with the most challenging students on an annual basis?

There’s also an emerging consensus among everyone NOT in government that testing is close to useless.

School choice is the only solution. The free market is the only fair way to judge any professional’s abilities. Anything else is probably a net negative for hardworking teachers and a net neutral for the kids we’re trying to help. Just one former student’s opinion…

And let’s abandon Common Core while we’re at it?