By Steve Gunn
TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey is a very strong union state, so it’s not surprising that an unusual number of charter school teachers have been recruited into local teachers unions.
That means they qualify for tenure, a job security status offered under state law.
But Gov. Chris Christie understands that charter schools are meant to be innovative and student-oriented. Tenured teaches who stop performing up to expectations do not fit the charter school model very well.
That’s why Christie has proposed a separate set of regulations for charter teachers, making it more difficult for them to gain tenure and easier for them to lose it, according to a report from SouthBrunswickPatch.com
Under his proposal, it would take five years of service before charter school teachers can gain tenure, which is one more year than it takes traditional public school teachers.
Tenured charter school teachers could be dismissed without going through the state’s arbitration process which is used to fire traditional school teachers. The state education commissioner would have the final say on the termination of tenured charter school teachers.
Tenured charter school teachers could also lose their tenure status if their schools fail to meet performance standards.
“We believe the streamlined tenure protections for charter school teachers strike a balance between providing flexibility for charter school leaders to make decisions about their staffing needs, while simultaneously providing job security for effective educators,” said Barbara Morgan, spokeswoman for the state Department of Education.
The new regulations can become law following a 60-day comment period which began Jan. 7. They do not require the approval of the state legislature or the state Board of Education.