JerseyCAN Report Details a “Once-in-a-Generation” Opportunity to Prepare and Support an Agile Educator Workforce
Part Two in the New Jersey Educator Workforce Series identifies ways to reimagine tomorrow’s educator workforce and address the needs of teachers and district leaders in the midst of global pandemic
Cranford, NJ – Today, JerseyCAN released Reimagining the Educator Workforce of the Future: Policy Questions and Recommendations, Part Two of the organization’s Educator Workforce Series. The report builds on Part One of the series released earlier this summer, which focused on New Jersey’s teacher shortage areas and the mismatch between student and teacher diversity and between school district demand and teacher supply. Part Two reflects insights gleaned through a series of interviews with district, state, and national education leaders to explore their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities with preparing and supporting an agile teacher workforce in the COVID-19 era.
“The challenges in front of us preparing for the 2020-2021 school year are unprecedented,” remarked David Adderhold, Superintendent of West-Windsor Plainsboro Regional School District and President of the Garden State Coalition of Schools. “We must ensure our students, staff and community remain safe while at the same time providing high-quality instructional and learning experiences. Our educators are the essential front line to our students and families and we must support them in new and innovative ways. JerseyCAN’s report highlights some of these possibilities for innovation that are both teacher- and student-centered.”
The report outlines essential questions facing state and local leaders around three major categories:
(1) Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline: Preparation and Certification;
(2) Providing Ongoing Support and Professional Development; and
(3) Supporting Nimble Budget and Labor Policies and Improving Data.
Former New Jersey Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington Markus commented, “This crisis has shown the resilience of our students and educators operating in an education system that was never built for a complete transition to remote learning – let alone one that happened overnight. JerseyCAN is focusing on the right questions and advancing recommendations that reflect our collective efforts to support all students.”
Some of the innovative recommendations highlighted in the report include:
A competitive grant program to spur the expansion of student-centered, educator-led innovations such as a shift from seat time to competency-based learning, which prioritizes mastering skills over hourly requirements;
A teacher apprenticeship program as an on-ramp for future teachers to earn as they learn and for current non-certified staff such as paraprofessionals;
A regular survey sent directly from the NJDOE to teachers and students gather feedback on the conditions for learning, with quarterly trend analyses to be shared with state policymakers;
Regional master classes that share staffing for high-level, low enrollment coursework, which could allow for college professors or industry professionals to partner with high school teachers to deliver content, among other approaches; and
A pilot program to allow district leaders the flexibility to create their own model school calendar for meeting the 180-day requirement across 12 months.
“We are grateful for the wisdom and expertise shared by our local and state leaders in New Jersey, and for the national experts who offered their advice to inform this report,” said Patricia Morgan, Executive Director of JerseyCAN. “Our Educator Workforce Series shows that while there is no shortage of challenges before us, there is also an inspiring display of leadership in the Garden State to improve education. We hope these recommendations will help our leaders to continue this important work.”
This report can be accessed at www.jerseycan.org
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JerseyCAN advocates for all students across the state to have access to excellent schools. To achieve these goals and realize our bold vision for New Jersey students, JerseyCAN weaves together research and policy, communications and mobilization, policy advocacy and coalition building. We seek to galvanize everyday New Jerseyans around a powerful message for change and to positively impact the educational opportunities our students receive. www.jerseycan.org