Trenton – A variety of bills relating to education policy, sponsored by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz, were signed into by Governor Murphy today.
“It is incredibly important we are constantly reevaluating our policies and searching for ways to improve upon our current laws,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “I am grateful to see this legislation signed into law which will work to create a more inclusive educational landscape in our state, allow students to better hold instructors and institutions accountable and address longstanding teacher shortages, exacerbated by the pandemic, particularly among teachers of color.”
The first law, S-699, sponsored by Senator Ruiz and Senator Troy Singleton, requires members of the panel of arbitrators maintained by the Department of Education to receive cultural diversity and bias training to assist them in carrying out conduct hearings. The intent of the law is to educate arbitrators in ways in which bias and prejudice are harmful to all members of a school community, and help them better recognize when such acts are occurring.
A second law, S-1851, sponsored by Senator Ruiz and Senator Joe Cryan, deems education institutions ineligible for state funding if they require students to sign enrollment contracts that include forced arbitration or other clauses that require students to waive their right to participate in a class-action lawsuit.
The third and final law, S-2831, creates the Alternate Route Interstate Reciprocity Pilot Program. Under the pilot program, the State Board of Examiners is authorized to issue a certificate of eligibility to teaching candidates, including alternate route candidates, who hold the equivalent of a certificate of eligibility or provisional certificate from another state. In addition, selected educator preparation programs would accept certain out-of-State candidates who have not yet completed an approved educator preparation program.