Gov. Chris Christie made his rounds Friday morning lauding the historic Newark teachers contract as a win for the city's teachers, principals and students.
Appearing with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on MSNBC's live show "Morning Joe," Christie said the pact was the result of a "boulevard of compromise" between the Newark Teachers Union, Superintendent Cami Anderson and state education officials.
"I think we all decided that we needed to do something different," said Christie. "Not only does it provide merit bonuses and provide advancement based upon merit, but it also involves the teachers in the evaluation process as well."
Under the new contract, approved by NTU Wednesday night with more than 60 percent of members voting in favor, Newark is the first district in the state to offer its teachers bonus pay based on student performance.
It also calls for peer review of teachers, a universal salary scale, as well as some retroactive pay for teachers who were on the payroll when the last contract expired July 1, 2010.
The agreement will be in effect until June 30, 2015.
"Everyone has a stake in it, and I think it's going to improve the quality of education in the city of Newark," said Christie.
Weingarten called the pact a "dynamic new contract" that's fair to teachers.
"The Newark teachers actually have more voice than they ever have before under this contract," she said.
Bonus pay for teachers will be funded by the $100 million Facebook donation given to the district two years ago. Christie said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg wanted the money, which had to be matched by the district, to be used on a groundbreaking initiative like the new contract.
"'Governor, use this to try to make a contract in Newark that will be an example for the country,'" Christie said Zuckerberg told him.
"You want to reward good teachers, you want to reward teachers who excel in the classroom. This now gives us a way to do it," said Christie. "I have to mention that we wouldn't have been able to do this without Mark Zuckerberg."
Following the television appearance, Christie and Weingarten joined Anderson, Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, Mayor Cory Booker and Foundation for Newark's Future Chief Executive Officer Greg Taylor at Speedway School in Newark to discuss the contract's impact on the district.