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NJ Teachers Union Eyes Fresh Start With Departure Of Education Commissioner

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(credit: NJ Dept. of Education)

(credit: NJ Dept. of Education)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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TRENTON, NJ. (CBS) — New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf is resigning at the end of the month to take a private sector job (See related story). And his departure is being seen by the state’s largest teachers union as an opportunity for what it calls a “new start.”

The New Jersey Education Association worked with Cerf to overhaul teacher tenure rules. Now there are fears teacher performance will be tied to student tests that union President Wendell Steinhauer insists are unproven. Add to that a new curriculum next year that’s still under development and Steinhauer suggests things are going way too fast.

“There are a lot of things going on here, a lot of things that need to be finished before he left,” Steinhauer says. “I guess we’re going to be still dealing with him now that he’s gone.”

Steinhauer gives Cerf a grade of C+ to B-.

“There have been a lot of things that he has pushed for change,” Steinhauer says, “and shaken up what he calls the status quo.”

But through it all, Steinhauer insists New Jersey schools performed well before Cerf — and will continue after he leaves. Steinhauer hopes Cerf’s successor will come from a public education background — and slow down many of the changes now in motion.

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