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Turner Bill To Ease Transition For New Teachers Through Senate

TRENTON – New teachers could begin classroom work even if their teaching certificate is still pending under legislation sponsored by Senator Turner and given final legislative approval by the Senate today.

“There was great concern that the recent backlog of teacher certifications would cause our schools to begin turning away new, highly qualified teachers and as a result, college students would be discouraged from pursuing an education degree,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “With projected teacher shortfalls in the future, this possibility is simply unacceptable. It is critical that school districts have the leeway needed to hire qualified individuals to begin teaching without having to wait for their teaching certificate application to be processed.”

The bill, S-2608, would allow a school district to employ a person who holds a valid certificate of eligibility to teach as a novice teacher in the public schools of the district, even if his or her teaching certificate application is pending.

“We have worked hard to put into place a certification process that has shortened the waiting period and virtually eliminated the backlog. I hope that our certification process will never again fall as far behind as it did over the last few years, but if it does, this bill will make sure that the backlog doesn’t impact our teachers, schools and students. Bureaucratic inefficiencies shouldn’t be allowed to damage the reputation of strong schools and dedicated teachers on which New Jersey prides itself,” added Senator Turner.

This bill would also require that a novice teacher employed by a board of education under this provision would be deemed to be a teaching staff member for all purposes and would be entitled to all benefits of employment provided by law and regulation to teaching staff members. A novice teacher would also receive the terms and conditions of employment provided to teaching staff members in the employing district under the collective bargaining agreement.

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 36-0. It now goes to Governor Codey for his signature.

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