New Education Group Calls For Tenure Reform And Merit Pay

June 17, 2011

There's a new headache for the New Jersey Education Association.

A new group called Better Education for Kids has launched a million dollar ad campaign calling for education reform in the Garden state.

The organization's Executive Director Derrell Bradford says the campaign is meant to get people focused on the fact that"the status quo is attacking a bipartisan group of reformers - the Governor, Ray Lesniak and a whole bunch of other people - who want change that's great for our kids-that's not sensible, that's not common sense, and we're here to advocate for those changes."

He says "New Jersey has one of the oldest tenure laws in America - it was passed in 1909 - think about all the stuff that's happened between 1909 and now - I mean we've got the internet, we've got suffrage :09 but tenure remains the same-we think a sensible approach can be taken to that so that it rewards great teachers and doesn't become sort of a shield for every teacher - which is what it is now...we want to look at last in first out policies, which means that when a school district downsizes, it downsizes based on how long you've taught, not how well you've taught, and then we want to inform parents, in a more proactive way about school quality, and what's going on in their districts, and that's an urban and suburban issue."

Bradford adds this is not a democratic or republican issue- "what this is, is a kids issue - and it's always been that- republicans and democrats across the country- governors and legislators and mayors and leaders are all lining up behind these kinds of reforms- this is an effort focused on reforms that support great teachers, reforms that give teachers who need some help the support they need , reforms that get bad teachers out of the classroom:08 reforms that give more choices to parents."

He also points out for the last 18 months message from the NJEA is all about NO- "no on charters, no on the scholarship bill, no on evaluation reform, no on substantive tenure reform- and if you keep saying know you start looking's probably time for the NJEA to realize the world has changed - the way people feel about these reforms has changed - and it's time to come to the middle."

Prior to joining Better Education for Kids, Bradford ran the group Excellent Education for Everyone.