(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 was approved Monday by the Assembly Education Committee.
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 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.”