Matsikoudis bill will cut red tape, free teachers to teach

Matsikoudis bill will cut red tape, free teachers to teach

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TRENTON, N.J. – Educators should spend their time planning and teaching, not filling out endless piles of tedious paperwork. To that end, the Assembly on Monday passed a bill that will create the New Jersey Educator Evaluation Review Task Force. Its purpose will be to study and suggest changes to the current public educator evaluation system established under the TEACHNJ Act of 2012.

The bill (S2082/A3413) is sponsored by Assemblywoman Michele Matsikoudis.

“The bureaucracy of the current system doesn’t help improve student learning,” Matsikoudis (R-Union) said. “My district office has been inundated with messages from teachers saying this bill will give them more time to focus on what truly matters: teaching their students.”

Under the bill, the 13-member task force must deliver its recommendations to the governor and legislature by Sept. 30, with those recommendations to be adopted for the 2025-26 academic year.

Since the 2013-14 school year, public school principals, assistant principals, vice principals and teachers have faced annual evaluations based on student achievements and classroom observations. Teachers were tasked with setting student growth objectives based on state assessments, a time-consuming, paperwork-heavy process, especially for high school teachers who may have 100 students or more. Tenure may be granted or denied based on those scores. Already-tenured educators can lose that status if charges of being ineffective based on those scores are upheld in arbitration.

Matsikoudis said the push for change is driven by ongoing teacher shortages. College students are choosing to enter different professions, while teachers and administrators are leaving the field in droves, citing “challenging work conditions” as one reason for their decisions.

“While still maintaining important accountability measures, this bill aligns with my overall mission to cut burdensome red tape and improve the quality of dedicated instruction that our K-12 students receive in the classroom,” Matsikoudis added. “I’m hopeful that this bipartisan, common sense solution will provide a better work environment for our state’s educators, empowering them to help our students grow into the very best version of themselves.”