New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, taking a page out of the Bush playbook, is offering a kinder, gentler assault on teachers, by proposing the elimination of tenure only for bad teachers, backpedaling from his earlier goal of eliminating tenure entirely. Christie intends to mandate the system on all districts and prohibit if from being altered in union negotiations, effectively eviscerating the teachers unions. He also wants all layoffs to be based on primarily on evaluations, not seniority.
The rating system will be based at least partly on students’ test scores, which will result in some teachers losing tenure because they happen to work in low income schools, which tend to have lower test scores. It will drive many of the best veteran teachers away from the neediest schools in a desperate attempt to protect their jobs. It will also create a teacher shortage in the neediest schools, as many aspiring teachers will either refuse to take jobs at low income schools, knowing that the prospects for a good evaluation are much lower there, and because many aspiring teachers will be fired because of poor evaluations due to the low test scores at those schools.