TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner requiring teachers of health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six in public schools to possess appropriate endorsement to instructional certificates cleared the full Senate today.
The bill (S2323) would require any person appointed by the board of education to teach health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six to possess a health and physical education endorsement to the instructional certificate. The effective date would be in the 2016-2017 school year.
“Educating children on physical fitness and nutrition lays the groundwork for developing healthy habits that they will carry into adulthood. In the ongoing fight against childhood obesity, our children deserve instructors who have received comprehensive training in health and physical education.” said Senator Turner (Hunterdon/Mercer). “Requiring that teachers receive this certification will better ensure that our students are learning about developing a healthy and active lifestyle from highly qualified teachers who are using best practices.”
This requirement would not be applicable to a person who teaches SDA district kindergarten students under a contract between the SDA district and a licensed child care center or other provider. The bill would allow anyone with an elementary school endorsement prior to the effective date of this bill to teach health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six without this endorsement.
Currently, administrative code allows elementary school teachers to teach health and/or physical education without holding a certificate specific to these subjects, as long as they are teaching the subject less than half-time. A certified health and physical education teacher receives comprehensive training and appropriate pedagogical preparation which aligns with the New Jersey Common Core Standards and national best practice standards for health and physical education training.
S2323 cleared the full Senate 38-0 and will now head to the Assembly for further consideration.