The Democrats’ leading bill to change teacher tenure in New Jersey is unlikely to get another public viewing until after the election, but its chief sponsor has begun a series of private meetings to fine-tune and amend the controversial measure.
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex) always claimed that the bill she filed this summer was just a starting point. In some of her first extensive comments on the bill since then, the Senate education committee chairman yesterday said the work to revise it has begun in meetings she started last week with stakeholders and others.
“We have given people enough time to get their hands around it and study the bill,” she said in her Trenton office. “Now we’re having open dialogue as to what stakeholders think works and doesn’t work and how to change it.”
The amendments won’t necessarily be at the core of the bill, she said, which would revamp how teachers earn and retain tenure protections. In its current version, Ruiz’s bill would grant tenure after a teacher completed four years with satisfactory reviews and take it away after two consecutive years of unsatisfactory grades.
It would also include school-based teams that would lead the evaluations and decisions on both hiring and dismissing a teacher, as well as calls for interventions and support for teachers who have subpar reviews.
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