New NJ Pilot Program Aims to Diversify and Expand Teacher Pool

New law recently enacted by Governor Phil Murphy allows New Jersey school districts to apply to the state Department of Education for a hiring allowance of up to 10% of staff who may not meet the traditional standard in one of the three certification areas.

The immediate goal of establishing this “flexibility” in grade point average, Praxis test scores, or subject credit requirements is to bring more educators into Jersey classrooms, with districts continuing. to report teacher shortages while trying to compensate for COVID-19 learning loss.

JerseyCAN, a nonprofit that describes itself as advocating for “high quality educational opportunities for all New Jersey students,” supported the measure during the legislative process, and Executive Director Patricia Morgan is now applauding Murphy’s signage of the five-year pilot program.

“Principals who have found a teacher who they think can do well in the classroom can have a little flexibility, (the teacher can) get extra mentorship and be in a classroom full of students,” he said. Morgan said.

Not only could this pilot program rejuvenate Garden State’s pool of teachers – JerseyCAN said 20,000 teachers, or 20% of the profession in the state, were over 55 in 2020 – but it could also possibly serve to make the faculties better reflect the children. they educate.

Morgan said it would be a big plus for the students.

“Studies have shown that all students who have access to diverse teachers, and teachers who are like them, actually perform better in school,” she said.

Beyond the allotted five-year period, Morgan hopes this new law will help create and grow a stable of capable and enthusiastic teachers.

“In one of our studies, we found a 25% decrease in the educator pipeline over four years,” she said. “We need to look to the long term and build an intentional pool of teachers to fill high-demand teaching positions.

Program progress reports will be sent back to the Ministry of Education for analysis, and district data on the types of teachers needed will be collected annually, to inform higher education institutions who and what is in demand.

Patrick Lavery is the anchor for the New Jersey 101.5 afternoon news. Follow it on Twitter @ plavery1015 or send an email to [email protected]

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