Teaching Mediocrity

Talk about job security... the Bergen County Record reported that only two New Jersey teachers have been laid off for poor performance in the past two years. That's out of nearly 116,000 public school teachers in the state. That figure is drastically lower than the national average of 2.1% of teachers dismissed for poor performance--a shocking number on its own. Why does New Jersey allow poor-performing teachers to continue doing their jobs? Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman weighed in today.

"Teachers work incredible hours, they don't get paid commeasurably... for what they do for our future in educating our children," Whitman told us. "On the other hand, they're not all 100%."

Whitman thinks that the unions are a big problem when it comes to getting rid of poor-performing teachers. "[The teachers union] is extremely strong," Whitman said.

Despite the union control, Whitman says that there is hope for dealing with the unions. "The leadership is not always in sync with the membership," Whitman explained. "There are a lot of, for instance, young teachers who are coming up that would love to see the dead wood gotten rid of. They know there's dead wood in the school. They know that there are a lot of teachers biding their time until they reach pension eligibility."

Whitman does see a light at the end of the tunnel for New Jersey. "Fortunately in New Jersey, we have a Governor who's willing to take this on and empower the teachers to fight back against union leadership."