On Monday, April 19, Gov. Murphy signed into law two education-related measures:

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Teaching Certificates S-2831/A-4783 (Ruiz/Beach/Quijano/Lampitt, Jasey) requires the N.J. Department of Education (NJDOE) to establish an Alternate Route Interstate Reciprocity Pilot Program. The bill is aimed at helping districts fill vacancies during the pandemic by making it easier to hire qualified, out-of-state teachers.

Under the program, the State Board of Examiners will issue an instructional certificate of eligibility (CE) to any out-of-state teaching candidate who:

  1. Has the equivalent of a valid CE or provisional certificate issued by another state in a subject or grade level also offered in New Jersey;
  2. Passed a subject-matter test to receive the candidate’s out-of-state endorsement or passed the appropriate New Jersey subject-matter test;
  3. Passed a performance assessment that is approved by the state in which the certificate was issued, or, if the out-of-state candidate did not take or pass such an assessment, the candidate will be issued an instructional CE but will be required to pass a New Jersey-approved performance assessment prior to the issuance of a standard instructional certificate;
  4. Has at least one year of documented effective teaching experience; and
  5. Has been in good standing during the candidate’s teaching experience under the out-of-state certificate.

An out-of-state candidate who has not completed an approved educator preparation program would be required to enroll in a New Jersey-approved educator preparation program and complete any remaining college credits or coursework prior to the issuance of a standard instructional certificate.

A CE candidate who is enrolled in the program and who meets all other requirements for issuance of a standard certificate would be eligible for such a certificate.  A CE candidate who successfully completes the pilot program may apply for up to one year of effective teaching experience earned out-of-state, as documented by a letter from the candidate’s former employer, to satisfy the requirement that the candidate earn at least two summative evaluation ratings within three consecutive years of teaching.

After two years of implementation, NJDOE will publish a progress report on the success of the program.  At the conclusion of the five-year pilot program, the department will submit a report evaluating the effectiveness of the program to the governor, the Legislature, and the State Board of Education.  Specifically, the report will include an analysis of the impact of the program and the department’s recommendation on the feasibility of continuing it.

NJSBA supported the bill throughout the legislative process.

Bias Training for Arbitrators S-699/A-5245 (Ruiz/Singleton/Sumter/Reynolds-Jackson, Stanley) would require members of the panel of arbitrators who hear and decide tenure charges to receive training related to cultural diversity and bias. The requirement builds upon a 2019 law that requires such arbitrators to complete training on conduct that is unbecoming of an employee, including issues related to allegations of sexual assault and child abuse.  Any arbitrator already serving on the permanent panel upon the law’s enactment will be required to complete the cultural diversity and bias training within 18 months of the date of enactment. NJSBA supports the measure.