Merit Pay for Schools May Make the Grade in NJ

October 31, 2011

TRENTON — New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he could support merit pay in classroom so long as schools, not individual teachers, are rewarded.

The South Jersey Democrat tells The Associated Press a merit pay bill that rewards schools for exceeding educational expectations could be debated before the Legislature recesses for the winter holidays.

However, the Senate president says he won’t consider a merit pay proposal for teachers because of the politics involved in giving bonuses.

Sweeney controls which bills get posted for discussion and votes in the Senate.

Gov. Chris Christie has proposed changes to public education that include eliminating lifetime teacher tenure, tying teacher evaluations to student achievement and establishing a system of merit pay.

Most of the Republican governor’s proposals require approval from the Democratic Legislature.