Big win: New law pauses SGOs collection for tenured teachers

Educator Evaluation Review Task Force created to overhaul teacher evaluation in New Jersey

Acting New Jersey Gov. Tahesha Way last Friday signed legislation that creates the New Jersey Educator Evaluation Review Task Force. The law also suspends the collection of new student growth objective (SGO) data for tenured teachers with existing SGOs for the 2024-25 school year. That legislation has been a top priority for NJEA members as they seek relief from the onerous requirements of the current evaluation system, including very time-consuming SGOs that most New Jersey teachers agree provide little or no helpful data.

The task force created by this new law will examine the educator evaluation process, including the use of SGOs and other parts of the TEACHNJ Act. The task force is charged with recommending changes to the educator evaluation system by September 2024.

NJEA’s officers, President Sean M. Spiller, Vice President Steve Beatty and Secretary-Treasurer Petal Robertson, released this statement about the bill:

“We commend Gov. Murphy, Lt. Gov. Way and legislative leaders for their support of this very important work. By halting the collection of SGO data for tenured teachers in the coming year, they have sent a message that they understand our current evaluation system needs drastic change.

“New Jersey schools are facing a staffing crisis that is hurting our students. While many factors contribute to that crisis, we know that frustration with onerous bureaucratic paperwork is a leading cause of burnout.

“New Jersey educators are among the best in the world at what we do, as evidenced by the fact that our schools are consistently ranked the best in the nation. But the unreasonable and time-consuming paperwork requirements of our current evaluation system pull teachers away from more important and productive work. That doesn’t benefit anyone.

“We call on members of the task force to look very closely at how much time teachers are spending trying to prove that they are doing their jobs instead of actually being able to do their jobs. New Jersey needs an evaluation system that respects the professional expertise of educators and that supports continued professional learning and growth. The current system, with its mountains of paperwork that do not contribute to more effective teaching and learning, is not just frustrating but is actually harmful.

“We look forward to working with other stakeholders throughout this process to develop an evaluation system that supports teachers, benefits students and nurtures a better working and learning environment for everyone.”

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