School districts across the nation are grappling with the question of how to improve student performance in a time of fiscal austerity. Some reformers are challenging the idea of automatic tenure, arguing that teachers should be paid based on performance rather than seniority. Moreover, recent legislative battles involving teacher compensation in Wisconsin and Ohio have put the issue squarely in the public spotlight.
On April 7, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) addressed these questions and spoke of the need to reform the U.S. education system so that teachers are held accountable for student progress. He described the steps that New Jersey has taken to meet his goals, and outlined a proposal for public school districts to include peer evaluations in their annual assessments of teacher performance. Brookings Managing Director William Antholis welcomed the governor, while James D. Robinson III, General Partner and Co-Founder of RRE Ventures, provided introductory remarks. Grover J. "Russ" Whitehurst, director of Brookings's Brown Center on Education Policy, moderated the discussion that followed Gov. Christie's remarks.