(TRENTON) – Aiming to address shortages of qualified teachers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legislation (A-4783) to establish a five-year pilot program that would create a path for eligible out-of-state educators to teach in New Jersey received final legislative approval on Monday, passing the full Assembly 69-0-1. The measure was approved by the Senate in January 33-0, and now goes to the Governor’s desk.
Under the Alternate Route Interstate Reciprocity Pilot Program created by the New Jersey Department of Education, selected educator preparation programs in the state – which distribute Certificates of Eligibility, the credential needed for teachers to seek employment in New Jersey schools – would accept out-of-state candidates who meet all requirements as well as their earned credits from other programs.
Additionally, the State Board of Examiners would issue certificates of eligibility to out-of-state teachers who meet certain criteria, such as earning equivalent credentials from another program.
The Department of Education would be required to submit a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program to the Governor, Legislature, and State Board of Education at the conclusion of the five-year pilot program.
The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano (D-Union), Pam Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) and Mila Jasey (D-Essex, Morris) released the following joint statement:
“Before the COVID-19 pandemic upended our education system, we were seeing a shortage of teachers in areas like science, math and bilingual studies. Now as many teachers retire or take leaves of absence amid this public health crisis, schools are struggling to fill vacancies across all subjects. We need the help of educators from neighboring states to address staff shortages through the pandemic and beyond. It’s a win-win for the teachers who may be out of work or just starting their careers, and the students in need of qualified teachers during these challenging times.”