Lauding the Christie Administration’s announcement that the state will expand its partnership with Harlem Children’s Zone to include other struggling school districts, Senate Republican Leader and Education Committee member Tom Kean, Jr. (R- Union) called on Senate leadership to allow debate and votes on legislation aimed at increasing accountability and innovation in New Jersey public schools.
“Proper funding of education for every school district in New Jersey is important, but funding alone doesn’t get results for our children,” said Kean. “If money alone were the answer, New Jersey’s inner cities would have the highest graduation rates, test scores, and educational outcomes of any district in America because they spend more per student than almost anywhere in the nation. Innovation and accountability, currently lacking in our public school system, is key to making every dollar we spend on education work better for students in every school district, regardless of economic status.”
Kean referenced S-2881 and S-2875 as reform initiatives currently stalled by Senate leadership that would spur innovation and accountability in every school district. Collectively, the bills would: reward teachers based on performance rather than seniority, require that teachers both earn and maintain tenured status through comprehensive evaluations of classroom effectiveness, and establish performance rather than seniority as the guiding factor when staffing decisions are made by school districts.
“Students and taxpayers, whether they live in Paterson or West Deptford, deserve to know that education funds are being spent in the most effective way possible,” Kean continued. “Again, proper funding of our schools so that they can function well and afford students a quality learning environment is critical. However, not coupling those funds with reforms to how our schools work is nothing more than throwing money against the wall. School children can’t afford that approach any longer, because it is no longer serving their needs. I strongly urge the Senate President and Education Committee Chairman to work with my Republican colleagues and myself to address needed reforms by the end of the year.”