Newark NJ — March 2, 2011

EQuATE, a group of NJ educators formed in response to Governor Christie’s Executive Order on NJ Educator Effectiveness, has issued a report with a series of recommendations on tenure reform and teacher evaluation. The report is titled: Creating a Better System: Recommendations for a Systemic Approach to Improving Educator Effectiveness from Concerned Practitioners and Policymakers

The group was led by Montgomery Township Superintendent Earl Kim and drew “membership from the research community, parents, boards of education, school leaders, policymakers and teachers who have demonstrated considerable success in improving large complex systems in the public and private sectors.” EQuATE members are listed on p. 11 of the report.

EQuATE presented its draft recommendations to the Governor’s Task Force last month. Briefly summarized, EQuATE recommends that the Department of Education and the Administration:

  • Build a broad base to support and sustain the work
  • Develop a balanced framework and process
  • Conduct a thoughtful pilot of the framework
  • Provide local districts with alternatives to a one-size-fits-all approach

The EQuATE report summarizes current research on teacher evaluation and effectiveness and compares the strengths and weaknesses of state and district plans that have been offered as national models. It cautions against one-size-fits-all state mandates and over-reliance on standardized test scores as the basis for high stakes decisions about tenure, compensation and retention. Instead it recommends that the state conduct several pilot projects that use multiple measures of teacher effectiveness and nationally recognized standards for professional practice.

The group also recommends that districts develop Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) processes modeled on Montgomery County, Maryland’s Professional Growth System. PAR processes are locally negotiated labor/management agreements that provide novice and under-performing teachers with a “supportive yet consequential professional improvement plan.” This option would include a waiver from state tenure regulations to implement a locally negotiated evaluation process that could lead to recommendations for remediation, termination or contract renewal.

EQuATE plans to participate in the developing debate around tenure reform and teacher evaluation. The recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force, which were due March 1, have not been made public.

Education Law Center Press Contact:
Stan Karp
Director, Secondary Reform Project
email: skarp@edlawcenter.org
voice: 973 624-1815 x28

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Press Contact:
Sharon Krengel
Director of Policy, Strategic Partnerships and Communications
973-624-1815, x240