Ruiz, Beach Bills to Address Teacher Shortages and Challenges of Remote Instruction Advance
Trenton – In an effort to address teacher shortages, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator James Beach, to allow interstate reciprocity for certified teachers and expand the pool of substitute teachers.
“New Jersey has long been battling with teacher shortages in high-need subject areas,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee. “This legislation will work to address this issue by granting reciprocity to out-of-state teachers and expanding our alternate route programs. A second bill will allow more college students to serve as substitute teachers, creating a broader pool to help fill any remaining gaps and ensure our classrooms have the instructors they need. These two bills are part of a greater package that aims to diversify the workforce and fill vacancies in critically needed areas, by removing the barriers standing before aspiring teachers and creating new tributaries to a career in the classroom to prevent our pool of educators from running dry in the future.”
“Out of concern for their health and the well-being of their families, many teachers have opted out of teaching in person this school year, increasing demand for substitute teachers more than ever before,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Luckily, we have a strong pool of college students eager to step in and provide support to the communities they live and learn in. This legislation will expand the pool of eligible students, helping to ensure all of our classrooms have the teachers they need to resume in-person instruction.”
The first bill, S-2831, would create the Alternate Route Interstate Reciprocity Pilot Program. Under the pilot program, the State Board of Examiners would be authorized to issue a certificate of eligibility to teaching candidates, including alternate route candidates, who hold the equivalent of a certificate of eligibility or provisional certificate from another state.
In addition, selected educator preparation programs would accept certain out-of-State candidates who have not yet completed an approved educator preparation program.
The second bill, S-2832, would allow students enrolled in institutions of higher education, who have completed 30 credits towards their degree, to serve as substitute teachers. It would also increase the coverage provided by substitute teachers by extending the amount of time those individuals may teach in the same classroom during public health emergencies from 20 days to 40 days.
The bills were released from the Senate by votes of 33-0 and 29-2, respectively