This summer marks the one-year anniversary of New Jersey Democrats, Republicans, teachers unions and education advocates coming together to recognize the importance of great teachers. Under Democratic Senator Teresa Ruiz’s leadership, in June 2012 the state legislature unanimously passed the TEACHNJ Act, a bill that modernizes the way we evaluate and reward great teaching. Shortly thereafter, Republican Governor Chris Christie signed the legislation into law.
For the first time in our public schools’ history, teachers will earn— and keep—tenure based on how effective they are in the classroom. Unlike the former system, the new evaluations will factor in objective student achievement data as well as multiple classroom observations to distinguish between effective and ineffective teachers and give them useful feedback to help hone their craft.
Given the magnitude and importance of the TEACHNJ Act, this issue brief outlines the major changes in the law and provides an update on the progress of its implementation over the last year. We also look ahead to additional policies that will complement these reforms and ensure that all New Jersey students are learning from great teachers.