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Newark Teachers Accept New Contract

Newark instructors to become first in state to get pay for student performance

The membership of the Newark Teachers Union Wednesday night voted to accept a new contract that will make the city the first school district in the state to offer teachers bonus pay based on student performance.

"The vote to ratify the Newark Teacher's Union contract is a win for teachers and unions.  I salute my colleagues, all of whom had the courage to challenge the status quo and stand up for what's best for our profession - and for our students,” Joe DelGrosso, the president of the NTU, said in a statement.  “We are here to serve and I look forward to working with all of our teaching professionals on this historic contract as we embark upon a new era for public education in Newark."

"Congratulations to the teachers, parent coordinators, teacher's aides, child study teams, and paraprofessionals who will benefit from the success of this contract, and especially to the students and families of Newark.  We invested a tremendous amount of time and thought to these negotiations,” Superintendent Cami Anderson said in a statement. 

“There was an incredibly talented team around the table and I believe that we have taken a huge step towards raising student achievement.  This contract sets the stage for even more dramatic progress and I am invigorated for the implementation phase of our systemic transformation of education in Newark.  As a lifelong educator, I am thrilled for our teachers here in Newark and for the teaching profession as a whole.”

A district spokesperson said about 2,800 staff took part in the vote, which was held throughout the day and into the evening, with more than 60 percent voting in favor of the contract.

The agreement  -- which previously had won the support of officials in Trenton
-- will be in effect until June 30, 2015.

The contract 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.

In addition, teachers rated "highly effective" will be eligible for up to $12,500 annually in bonus pay, including up to $5,000 for top-rated teachers in schools performing in the district's bottom 25 percent. Teachers rated "partially effective" or "ineffective" will not be entitled to an increase.

The cash for performance bonuses will come from a $100 million fund -- half of which consists of public resources and half from private philanthropy -- paid out over the course of three years. Much of the cash will come from Foundation for Newark's Future, a group overseeing a $100 million donation Newark received from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a few years ago.

Brian Hurrel November 17, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Just about every teacher on the Star-Ledger comments site, as well as numerous educational commentators such as Jersey Jazzman, have been loudly outlining the pitfalls and problems with this contract. The average teacher-basher simply thinks this means a 14% raise. In truth only a handful of teachers will ever see any bonus pay, and half of those will get it because of nepotism and political connections, since there is no solid evaluation plan in place, nor any oversight. They will throw a few crumbs to legitimately deserving teachers to make everything look kosher, but most of that money will disappear like a fart in the wind. This is not going to improve Newark's schools one bit, and only a Star Ledger Editor with his head up his... umbrella... would be so ignorant as to sing its praises. It will, though, further erode teacher morale and amount to Reason #357 Not to Go Into Teaching". And of course, once the private funds dry up the program will either be ended or Sam and Suzie Suburb will have to pick up the tab.
bronzbeee November 17, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Where does it leave the teachers with learning disabilities, the teachers of medically fragile, and autistic? No one said a teacher to get rich cause that that's just not the reality. Teachers just have to love what they do, improve upon what they do, and pray they have fair administration. It's all in God's hands.
bronzbeee November 17, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Where does this contract leave the teachers of students with learning disabilities such as medically fragile, and autistic? or teachers of students who are in an out of the system, and living in unstable homes? Ultimately teachers have to love teaching more than anything else, learn to adjust to the change that was inevitably coming anyway. No amount of money in the world could really compensate teachers for all they do. A good teacher however should continue to develop their skills, and teaching methods to stay in step with the way our children are developing. That's not always easy, but to grow, our selves, we must be willing to change. Education throughout history is in perpetual evolution. Were just experiencing one of those turns that will be marked on the timeline, good, bad, or in between. We will survive. Teachers are strong and clever. It make take spending less of our own money on our classrooms, and finding more inventive ways of getting things we can use. Donor's Choose, a website for teachers where people donate to pay for projects for classrooms is an excellent resource (donorschoose.org.) We know how to make the best out of a bad situation. And for the faithful, we know that God will make a way. There are worse worse districts in NJ and all over the US. So in many ways we have to count our blessings.
Jeff Mattingly November 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
With over 25K a head being spent on educating a student per year in Newark and a 50% drop out rate I applaud the union for seeing the need and voting to try new approaches to teaching and evaluation to better prepare these young people who are our future providers. May they all graduate and go on to college. Time will tell if bonuses will be realized as fears of none predict, but a 14+% three year contract is very generous and will certainly not be realized by the masses who will have to pay for it through their taxes. I pray good fortunes to all !
Loren Svetvilas November 18, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Since Hurricane Sandy effected so many students, families, teachers and their families, school buildings, etc., how will the "accountability formula" work??? Obviously, a poor performing student who is now homeless and who's family is more concerned about food on the table than a textbook on the table will not achieve as well in class. (Assumption, of course.)

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