Christie: “We may have to fire lousy teachers”

posted at 12:55 pm on September 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Chris Christie continues his drive for reform in education by releasing a tough new plan aimed at wresting control of schools away from unions and giving it back to the parents. The CBS affiliate in New York calls this a “tough love” approach, but that’s perhaps underselling it a bit. Christie wants to test the teachers to ensure that they comprehend the core skills in math and reading that they are expected to teach, and to rid the schools of those who don’t make the cut. The reason? Poor teachers hurt children, Christie explains:

Determined to turn New Jersey’s education system on its head, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday unveiled a tough-love reform package that will make classroom achievement — not seniority or tenure — the basis for pay hikes and career advancement in Garden State public schools.

Christie is turning his take-no-prisoner’s style to the classroom, demanding a top to bottom overhaul of how New Jersey students learn and teachers teach. And that means undoing tenure, seniority and other union work rules.

“We cannot wait. Your children are sitting in these classrooms today. We cannot wait to make it better,” Christie told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Unqualified teachers will feel the lash. The governor is demanding that teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade actually pass tests in reading and math in order to be certified.

“It might lead to the firing of lousy teachers and bad principals who hurt our children,” Christie said.

Union control of government policy and funds could become the biggest domestic policy issue in the nation, especially in states with pension bombs exploding and out-of-control spending. While the focus in federal circles will remain on Congress, in the states the battles will look precisely like this. For more on that, be sure to read Mike Antonucci’s Green Room post on unions and the Census, as well as Veronique de Rugy’s warning at The Corner that the next crisis will come from the states. That could be avoided — if more governors demand action as Christie has done in New Jersey.

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“Christie wants to turn the old seniority system inside out, and put quality teaching ahead of lackluster performance.”

The fact that the system is already not set up this way says a lot.

hawksruleva on September 29, 2010 at 4:17 PM

You don’t know anyone who skated through college without learning anything?…

hawksruleva on September 29, 2010 at 4:05 PM

How about our most brilliantest-ever president?

slickwillie2001 on September 29, 2010 at 4:36 PM

F Yeah!

tickleddragon on September 29, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Why wouldn’t he fire lousy teachers? It’s the fact that no one will or would in fear of political backlash that has the nation’s school systems in the predicament they are. Politics over our nation’s children…lovely lot in office these days…the lot of them!

Halli Casser-Jayne

The CJ Political Report on September 29, 2010 at 5:31 PM

I’m totally for changing things about the teacher benefits, etc., but I wish they wouldn’t attack teachers.

They are always nothing but a football, and frankly, it’s ridiculous.

AnninCA on September 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM

There are some good teachers and some bad teachers. That’s the reality. Sainting ALL teachers has led to the disintegration of our schools.

The CJ Political Report on September 29, 2010 at 5:48 PM

“Grant tenor”?

Looks like the news station could use some education.

JG2K6 on September 29, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Education Secretary in next GOP administration please God!!

PappyD61 on September 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

I’m totally for changing things about the teacher benefits, etc., but I wish they wouldn’t attack teachers.

They are always nothing but a football, and frankly, it’s ridiculous.

AnninCA on September 29, 2010 at 5:35 PM
===========================================================Union rules promote the protection of incompetence. This is true for any union, including teachers unions. If a teacher is good at what he/she does… then there shouldn’t be anything to worry about.

Arguably, teachers unions have done as much, if not more, to damage the education of inner city school children than any other individual factor within the public school system – by protecting incompetent teachers.

As long as teachers pay dues, they are part of the problem. You never hear of union reform from within. So it has to happen by outside pressure.

Danny on September 29, 2010 at 10:54 PM

Trying to implement education reform without any input from educators.

Given that the so called educators created this blivet of a system, they should not be allowed to have input into the reforms.

Slowburn on September 30, 2010 at 3:25 AM

It is not just a matter of firing bad teachers, it is also dealing the entrenched administrators and cronyism. I suspect that in most jurisdictions the administrators are the worst of the “failing” teachers who moved up to the next level in order to hide their inability to teach, read or write, or perhaps to obtain a job which wouldn’t test their competence. Slowburn, there are educators who care, but most of us are not members of the favored select and are constantly worried about the status of our jobs because we are not.

georgeofthedesert on September 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM