[…] Newark is one of 11 districts in the state piloting a controversial plan led by Gov. Chris Christie that would more closely tie teacher evaluation — and potentially tenure — to student achievement.

And while plenty of controversy remains, several in the group last night said they appreciated at least being included in the process, no small thing in a state-operated district that has not always held such trust between teachers and administration.

One vote of appreciation, if not full confidence, came from the union leaders that up until then had been lukewarm and even hostile to the plans.

“You seem to be more open and willing to different stakeholders,” said Cheryl Skeete, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers NJ, the umbrella organization for the Newark Teachers Union.

“It seems more well-rounded than earlier when we were told it was only one way,” she told Anderson’s staff. “That should help in getting more buy-in.”

That should mean something. The NTU has openly opposed the pilot as it stood up till now, surely contributing to the fact that not one of the district’s 80-plus schools voted to join the pilot in its first year. That left just seven schools included, all of them as a condition of large federal grants.


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