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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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Trenton, New Jersey 08608

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GSCS on Tenure Reform - S1455Ruiz 'TEACHNJ Act' June 18 2012


204 West State Street, Trenton NJ 08608

Senate Budget Committee Hearing, June 18, 2012

S1455 Ruiz TEACH NJ ACT: GSCS Supports

 Good afternoon Chairman Sarlo, members of the Committee. My name is Lynne Strickland and I am Executive Director of the Garden Coalition of Schools/GSCS.  Today, GSCS represents 100 school districts and 300,000 students statewide, from Bergen County to Camden County. As a grassroots education advocacy group comprised of parents, board of education members, and school administrators, GSCS keeps its eye on quality education and school finance.

Senate bill 1455 seeks to balance overall improvement of the teaching profession with an effective system for evaluation. This is a laudable goal and objective at the same time. The GSCS believes that tenure reform is needed and is an integral, very important part of moving quality education ahead in New Jersey’s public schools.  We are pleased that this ‘how-to’ conversation has now arrived at a point of probable action.

Tenure and evaluation reform are very complex and GSCS recognizes there are many relevant issues that have had to be sorted out in order to effect real change in this arena. Evaluation and arbitration processes will be critical to seeing that effective teaching and learning – with fairness to students and teachers alike – move positively ahead for all. Successful implementation, of course, will depend on a reasonable and doable approach. GSCS looks forward to working with the legislature and the administration on related regulatory issues in the near future.

Senator Ruiz, as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in her patient and steady pursuit of linking of meaningful evaluation with tenure reform. Her continued outreach to stakeholders has been notable.

After more than one hundred years under one system, change is not easy nor should it be. The implementation of a new system will certainly be a work in progress at times, but one that is welcome. We thank Senator Ruiz, and her staff in her District as well as in Trenton, for their steadfast efforts in seeing that New Jersey education moves a big, quality step forward for our students and educators.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608