Governor Christie, teacher’s union spar over seniority

    The Christie administration’s application for as much as much as $400 million in federal funds for education reform does not include a provision the teachers union agreed on last week.

    The Christie administration’s application for as much as much as $400 million in federal funds for education reform does not include a provision the teachers union agreed on last week.

    The New Jersey Education Association as well as the State Education Commissioner Bret Schundler had agreed that seniority would continue to be used to decide on teacher layoffs.

    But Governor Christie says he rejected that in submitting the state’s application for federal money in the “Race to the Top” program.

    “I believe merit pay has to go to individual teachers,” says Christie. “I believe that if there are going to be layoffs that those layoffs should be done based upon merit, not based upon seniority.”

    Christie says he believes his changes will not hurt the state’s chances of getting the federal money.

    Despite their differences, Christie says he still has confidence in Education Commissioner Schundler, whom he calls one of the more inventive minds in public education in the country.

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