The 2013-2014 school year is here – and it’s not likely to be easily forgotten by New Jersey’s 100,000-plus teachers, for good or ill.
After years of debate and discussion, a new statewide evaluation system will for the first time measure teachers by their own and their students’ performances. The change comes at the same time that new national curriculum standards continue to make their way into New Jersey’s classrooms and to reshape the state’s approach to testing.
Add the ongoing financial pressures on schools and the range of new and revised government mandates. That doesn’t even include the special pressures on the state’s most troubled districts -- including Camden, the latest district to come under state control.
And did we mention November’s election for governor and the full Legislature, the results of which are likely to touch off even more changes? So, in honor of the new school year and the uncertainties it brings even in less-eventful times, here are a few questions about what lies ahead for New Jersey:
How big a difference will the new teacher-evaluation system make in this opening year?
It’s been talked about since the new teacher tenure law was enacted in the summer of 2012 -- the day that every school district would need to have in place a system to annually grade teachers on a four-point scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective.”
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