Education reform group endorses Ruiz’s TEACH NJ bill

NEW BRUNSWICK – The city-based Better Education for Kids (B4K) non-profit education reform group on Monday endorsed S1455, the “Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey Act” (TEACH NJ), sponsored by Sen. Teresa Ruiz.

The Senate Education Committee, which Ruiz chairs, was scheduled to hear the bill at the 11 a.m. hearing.

“Research shows that great teaching not only increases student learning, it benefits a child for the rest of his or her life. Great teaching and teachers matter, and every classroom should have one,” said Derrell Bradford, executive director of B4K, in a statement.

In particular, B4K said tenure reform must include several key elements in order for it to be beneficial. They included basing tenure on teaching effectiveness instead of years in teaching, student performance growth, mentoring and professional development that provides feedback from the evaluation process so teachers can improve, and removing ineffective teachers from the classroom.   

TEACH NJ contains each of these elements in a way that reflects best practices in education policy, B4K said.

“This legislation will transform tenure, making it a prestigious, performance-based reward,” said Mike Lilley, executive director of Better Education for New Jersey Kids, the group’s political arm.

Under TEACH NJ, teachers who lose tenure based on consecutive evaluation ratings of ineffective or partially effective without improving the following year can only appeal to an Administrative Law Judge on grounds that the proper evaluation process was not substantially followed. Teachers cannot appeal their individual ratings, which will reduce the time and expense of the process.

Education reform group endorses Ruiz’s TEACH NJ bill