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Package of Bills Addressing Teacher Recruitment and Retention Clear Assembly Education Committee

Proposed legislation would establish a new loan redemption program, remove obstacles to certification in special cases, and create a more comprehensible teacher review process

(TRENTON) – The Assembly Education Committee today advanced several bills designed to address the state’s teacher workforce shortage. New Jersey is nationally renowned for its exceptional public education system, and this legislation will strengthen efforts to retain and hire knowledgeable educators.

“Shortages in our educator workforce are damaging to our districts and to the children they serve. It is so important that we fill our educator training pipeline with qualified, motivated individuals who want to become teachers, and want to stay teachers,” said Assemblywoman Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “These bills will help school districts and newly certified teachers make meaningful connections, while alleviating some of the financial strain caused by student loans, enabling these educators to focus on their students and giving our youth the education they deserve.”

These bills are part of a broader package of legislation designed to help the teaching industry to continue to deliver high-quality education to students statewide. This includes paving the way for new teachers by removing barriers to teacher certification, and alleviating the financial strain of student loans. The legislation would also address teacher frustration with administrative overburden by exploring less redundant and intrusive methods for staff evaluation, and would create a database of novice teachers from which school districts can draw.

The committee advanced the following bills today:

A-1676 (Lampitt) would facilitate better relationships between prospective teachers and hiring districts by tasking the Department of Education and Department of Labor to collaborate on the creation of a comprehensive database of novice teachers that would include employment status, certificates, and endorsements, along with any other relevant information, facilitating access for schools and districts to address staffing needs. Additionally, the NJDOE would be required to host three yearly regional job fairs, in northern, central, and southern New Jersey, connecting districts and novice teachers to fill in vacancies and alleviate the teacher shortage.

A-1669 (Lampitt/Lopez/Bagolie) would reduce obstacles to teacher certification by eliminating the requirement for candidates to take redundant, expensive, and over-burdensome examinations of basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills, including tests like the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators.

A1619 (Lampitt/Haider) would establish the “Grow Your Own” Teacher Loan Redemption program within the Higher Education Assistance Authority (HESAA) in New Jersey. The bill would encourage high school graduates from school districts with teacher shortages to return to those districts. In return, HESAA would offer loan redemption up to $10,000 per year, and a maximum of $50,000 over five years.

A-3413 (Lampitt/Carter) would create a New Jersey Education Evaluation Review Task Force to reevaluate the schedule of teacher evaluations established under the TEACHNJ Act. The task force would consist of 13 members with varying backgrounds in education, who would examine the impact of the existing system. The task force would be required to provide recommendations for potential improvements or changes to reduce the administrative burden on teachers and administrators, allowing them to spend more time engaged with students.