TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner and Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. that would require individuals appointed by a board of education to teach health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six to possess a health and physical education endorsement to be certified in those fields passed the Senate today.
“If we expect instructors who teach math or English to be trained in those subjects, the same should hold true for anyone teaching health or physical education,” said Senator Turner (D-Hunterdon/Mercer). These are important subjects and teachers in those fields should be certified. We have a drug epidemic. We have a too many young people battling obesity. Certified instructors will be well-armed to identify and rectify problems before it’s too late.”
“We cannot have two different standards for training educators in our public schools: one for academics and one for physical education or health,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Given the rise in obesity and eating disorders, both health and physical education classes are vital to our young people. Ensuring that instructors are certified means they will be better equipped to motivate students to become more physically active and identify behavioral patterns that could create health problems later on in life.”
The bill, S-858, in addition to requiring 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, would allow anyone with an elementary school endorsement , including individuals with school nurse endorsements, prior to the effective date of this bill to teach health and physical education in grades kindergarten through six without this endorsement.
A certified health and physical education teacher receives comprehensive training aligning with the New Jersey Common Core Standards and national best practice standards for health and physical education training.
The bill requirement would not apply to a person who teaches SDA district (formerly an Abbott district) kindergarten students under a contract between the SDA district and a licensed child care center or other provider.
At present, elementary school teachers are allowed 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.
An identical bill was passed by the Senate (38-0) on October 20, 2016.
The bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 39-0.