Turner Bill Would Ease Transition For New Teachers

TRENTON – New teachers could begin classroom work even if their teaching certificate is still pending under legislation sponsored by Senator Turner and passed by the Senate Education Committee today.

“The biggest concern when it came to the backlog was that New Jersey would begin turning away a great number of new, highly qualified teachers and discourage college students from pursuing an education degree,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “With projected teacher shortfalls in the future, it is critical that qualified individuals are allowed to begin teaching without having to wait for their teaching certificate application to be processed. This bill gives new teachers and the districts that hire them this necessary leeway.”

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.

“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. New Jersey prides itself on its strong schools and great teachers and bureaucratic inefficiencies shouldn’t be allowed to harm that reputation,” 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 Committee by a vote of 4-0. It now goes to the full Senate for

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