(TRENTON) – The full Assembly on Thursday advanced seven bills that take aim at New Jersey’s ongoing teacher workforce shortage by reducing barriers to entry for aspiring educators and offering critical support to existing teachers. Among the legislation advanced are measures making it more affordable and less time consuming to secure the degrees and certifications necessary to instruct students. Another bill offers relief to teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.
Earlier this month, Assembly Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt formally announced the introduction of the bills. Upon Assembly approval of the legislation, Assemblywoman Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) issued the following statement:
“Conversations with teachers, administrators, students and their families have all underscored the same point—the teacher workforce shortage has reached crisis levels and we must take action quickly.
“Across New Jersey, we are seeing countless teachers and professional educators leave the classroom at times when the pipeline of aspiring teachers is as thin as it’s ever been. The high cost of education, numerous barriers to entry, and limited resources for existing school faculty members have significantly contributed to this issue both in our state and throughout the nation.
“The legislation advanced today will help address the complex issues currently plaguing the education profession and break down identifiable barriers that have long stood in the way of otherwise capable professionals entering, or remaining part of, New Jersey’s teacher workforce.”
The following bills were advanced by the full Assembly:
|70-0||Provides gross income tax deduction to eligible educators and paraprofessionals for expense of classroom supplies.*
|72-1||Requires State Board of Education to authorize alternate route to expedite teacher certification of persons employed as paraprofessionals in school districts.|
|72-3||Establishes Teacher Certification Reimbursement Fund in DOE to reimburse certain teachers for costs associated with certification.|
|68-6||Removes obstacles to teacher certification for certain teachers.|
|69-4||Establishes New Jersey Student Educator Stipend Program.|
|75-0||Directs State Board of Education to authorize issuance of new endorsements in certain fields.|
|Permits teacher, and professional staff member who provides special services, who retired from TPAF to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF if employment commences during the 2023-2024 school year.|