JerseyCAN released the following statement regarding the bill package aimed at increasing teacher diversity introduced today by Senator Teresa Ruiz, Senate Education Committee Chair.

Today, Senate Education Chair Senator Teresa Ruiz announced a package of bills aimed at increasing the supply of diverse teachers and transforming access to the profession. This package includes several bills that ensure district flexibility in hiring, increased reciprocity for out of state teachers and culturally responsive professional learning for all teachers. Some of the highlights include:

    • S2834 calls for an apprenticeship program to be established as an onramp for high school students and current support staff to become future teachers.
    • S2826 & S2831 will directly increase the availability of teachers for districts to hire in the midst of this pandemic.
    • S2835 equips the state with the local demand data that can fix the mismatch that currently exists in our pipeline and project the needs of our schools to be responsive in light of COVID-19 and beyond.
    • 2827 would require teachers to biennially complete two hours of professional development related to cultural competency.

JerseyCAN’s Director of Policy, Ashley Bencan explained,  “Senator Ruiz continues to demonstrate critical leadership prioritizing policies that support the educator workforce and strengthening the pipeline of robust, diverse  educators.   Our teachers are a critical part of what makes education in New Jersey so exceptional.  New Jersey should be taking these additional actions to elevate the profession and increase the data available about educator workforce trends.  These bills will put New Jersey in a much better position to identify current and future workforce needs and prepare accordingly.”

Here is a list of the entire bill package:

    • 2825 would establish a loan redemption program for certain bilingual education teachers.
    • 2826 would require the State Board of Education to establish procedures for the issuance of a limited certificate of eligibility for certain teacher candidates. Following two effective or highly effective evaluations, the teacher would be eligible for a standard instructional certificate.
    • 2827 would require teachers to biennially complete two hours of professional development related to cultural competency. The instruction would include personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, acts of microaggression in the classroom, and implicit bias.
    • 2828 would require the Department of Education to develop a credential that would introduce teachers to culturally responsive teaching practices, characteristics, and methods.
    • 2829 would establish the “Male Teachers of Color Mentorship Pilot Program” and appropriate $50,000 to fund the program.
    • 2830 would require educator preparation programs to report passing rates of students who complete certain tests and to disseminate information on test fee waiver programs. The bill would also permit the collection of a student fee for certain testing costs.
    • 2831 would grant reciprocity to teachers with certain out of state certificates.
    • 2832 would allow students enrolled in an institution of higher education who have completed 30 semester-hour credits to serve as a substitute teacher.
    • 2833 would establish the teacher apprenticeship program.
    • 2834 would mandate training on culturally responsive teaching for all candidates for a teaching certification.
    • 2835 would require the compilation of data and the issuance of an annual report on the teacher workforce, including the number of vacant positions, new positions, eliminated positions, and anticipated retirements.
    • 2793 would require public institutions of higher education to take various actions to improve campus diversity. The bill also directs the Secretary of Higher Education to develop guidance regarding diversity in the faculty search and selection process.

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JerseyCAN is a nonprofit organization that advocates for high-quality educational opportunities for all New Jersey students, regardless of their address.


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