Education Faceoff – Independent

By Heather Shupe

The topic of education is a heated one in today’s society. Current Gov. Jon Corzine has been faced with many issues regarding education but has yet to complete his plans or create solutions for its problems. Thankfully, Chris Daggett, the independent candidate, has many plans to improve New Jersey’s education. He plans to address problems such as tenure, graduation exams, school choice, charter schools, supervision, performance and an Office of Teacher Recruitment.

For starters, Daggett wants to fix the tenure problems in the classrooms. Too many poor-quality teachers are not being dismissed because of the tenure policy. He wants to replace the lifetime tenure policy with a five-year renewable performance-based contract. Daggett wants to implement the same policy for principals and school administrators.

The next problem is the graduation exam. The high school graduation exam is an eighth-grade level test. Children who fail the test three times can get a diploma through the Special Review Assessment. Daggett wants to raise the standards of these graduation exams to help our students perform successfully.

The third problem is the fact that urban schools are failing to educate students who have no choice about where to go to school. He wants to enact legislation creating a fund providing school choices for parents of these children who are stuck in failing schools. These students will then be able to attend a school that will prepare them for higher education.

Along the same lines of helping failing schools is Daggett’s idea to create schools that will “break the mold.” Daggett also believes in supervising New Jersey teachers. This is just a way for New Jersey residents to make sure that the state’s children are being taught by the most competent educators.

The last two problems Daggett wants to fix in education are performance and teacher recruitment. As of right now, teachers must accumulate 100 hours of professional development within a five-year period in order to keep their jobs. This is a policy that Daggett wants to do away with. He does not want teachers to focus on a fixed number of hours that are to be spent on training seminars but rather to focus on outcomes in their classrooms. The last topic Daggett deals with is teacher recruitment. He plans on promoting the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification and opening an Office for Teacher Recruitment. Both of these programs will bring the best young teachers to New Jersey. Chris Daggett has spent many years and countless hours working on committees to better New Jersey’s education problems, and someone with experience in the education field is needed.

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