TRENTON – Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement today on the Senate passage of legislation (S-1455) she sponsored to overhaul the state’s century-old tenure law. The bill was approved unanimously by a vote of 39-0:
“Today is an extraordinary day for the state of New Jersey. The action taken by the Senate on this historic reform bill shows the commitment and dedication of so many to ensuring that students across our state receive a high-quality education that will prepare them for college and a career. It also demonstrates our commitment to elevating and supporting the teaching profession, the most important profession there is.
“With this legislation, we will overhaul a century-old tenure law and craft a new policy that will create supports for our teachers, an ongoing evaluation system that will allow for deficiencies to be identified, corrective action plans to be implemented and for professional development that will help strengthen our educators. With this bill, we will create fundamental change that ensures our students have the best leaders in the classroom. It is policy based on the foundation that no matter a child’s background, ZIP code or socio-economic status, all students deserve equal access to an excellent education.
“This bill represents nearly two years of work in a process that included all of the stakeholders, in order to ensure that we had the best policy possible for New Jersey. I want to thank everyone who was part of the process. This bill demonstrates that no matter what side of an issue you are on, when people are truly willing to work together, and to continue to work regardless of the disagreements that may take place, extraordinary things can happen.”