Secaucus superintendent sees pilot evaluation program as timely, necessary

SECAUCUS – At Secaucus High School, Superintendent Cynthia Randina sees her Hudson County district’s selection as a participant in the state’s pilot program for teacher evaluations as timely.

“We were looking at revising our tools for evaluation anyway,’’ she said today after Gov. Chris Christie and acting Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf said that in conjunction with the state’s application for a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind program, the state would institute a pilot program of educator evaluations that the administration believes will be meaningful and fair.

Cerf said that up to $1.16 million in grants would be awarded to the 10 districts. They include Alexandria Township (Hunterdon); Bergenfield (Bergen), Elizabeth (Union), Monroe Township (Middlesex), Ocean City (Cape May), Pemberton Township (Burlington), Red Bank Borough (Monmouth), Secaucus (Hudson), West Deptford Township (Gloucester), and Woodstown-Pilesgrove Regional (Salem). 

An 11th district, Newark, will participate through a separate grant, the Education Department reported.

Randina, who said her district will receive about $77,000, said one key aspect of the pilot program evaluation would be a quick turnaround time in its findings. 

Classroom evaluations of educators will be available within 48 hours, she said.

“We can meet with teachers and find out what they need support in,’’ she said.

She explained in general that for 99 percent of teachers, who are outstanding, this should be viewed as a collaborative effort to improve education; it’s that one percent that often garner headlines, though.

Earlier, Christie had said, as he often has in the past, that he is willing to work with the Legislature and the N.J. Education Association on true reform, but he will not compromise his principles on education.

“I’m not angry at teachers,’’ Christie said earlier.  “I’m angry at a union that will not be part of reform.’’

He pointed out that after two years of being unwilling to change, NJEA  finally has put forward ideas of its own. But, “The reform they proposed is well short of changing anything,’’ Christie said.

Some other aspects of the pilot effort:

The pilot program will last for one year.  The Education Department stated that New Jersey lacks a quality evaluation system, and there is an urgent need to develop one.

The state will set up a committee of stakeholders to advise the Education Department throughout the period of the pilot program. The committee will meet monthly, and its deliberations will be conducted in private because of the information its members will be privy to, the Education Department said.

Earlier stories:

Christie, Cerf unveil teacher evaluation pilot program

State responds to study showing widening achievement gap

State explores possible replacement for high school proficiency test

Draft of state’s NCLB waiver application released


Secaucus superintendent sees pilot evaluation program as timely, necessary