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Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law S-896/A-677, which eliminates the requirement that teaching candidates pass the edTPA to earn certification and is intended to alleviate the growing teacher shortage in New Jersey. The Assembly also passed various measures related to PreK-12 education.

‘edTPA Bill’ Is Now Law

On Dec. 16, 2022, Murphy approved a measure that prohibits the New Jersey State Board of Education from requiring completion of an NJDOE-approved performance-based assessment, including but not limited to the edTPA, as a requirement for certification. Under the legislation, rather than being required to complete the NJDOE-approved edTPA, certification candidates will be required to complete performance-based assessments selected by, and as part of, their educator preparation programs. The governor’s signature came less than 24 hours after the Assembly unanimously voted to concur with the recommendations the governor issued via conditional veto earlier this year. The Senate approved the governor’s recommendations Nov. 21.

The governor’s signature completes a nearly yearlong endeavor to address the state’s educator shortage by eliminating the edTPA requirement, which many education stakeholders viewed as a barrier to certification for qualified candidates. Passed unanimously by both houses this past spring, the governor conditionally vetoed the initial version of the legislation in September “after months of productive discussions with stakeholders,” sending it back to the Legislature with a series of recommendations the governor believed necessary to address concerns regarding edTPA while also ensuring that “efforts to facilitate the certification of prospective educators … not come at the expense of teacher quality.” The NJSBA was engaged on this issue throughout the legislative process.

Under the law, the NJDOE’s requirement that candidates complete an NJDOE-approved performance-based assessment (edTPA) is eliminated immediately. The requirement that candidates complete a program-selected performance-based assessment as part of their educator preparation program begins with candidates who complete their program in the spring of 2024.

“The NJSBA celebrates the governor’s and Legislature’s deep, ongoing commitment to reducing obstacles that bar qualified candidates from the teaching profession,” said NJSBA’s Executive Director Dr. Timothy Purnell. “The legislation signed by the governor advances one of the central goals that NJSBA and many of our colleagues across the PreK-12 education community have long advocated: bolstering the teacher pipeline while maintaining the state’s high-quality teacher standards. The NJSBA is confident that this move will foster more meaningful, enriching student teaching experiences that position candidates well for success in the classroom. At a time of critical educator shortages around the country and throughout the state, addressing the issue has never been more urgent.”

Additional information may be found in the Sept. 27 article in School Board Notes: “Legislative Update: Governor Conditionally Vetoes edTPA Bill; Assembly Education Committee Returns from Summer Break,” which covered the governor’s previous conditional veto, and in the governor’s Dec. 16 news release announcing his signature of the amended bill.

Assembly Voting Session

On Dec. 15, the Assembly approved the following bills, in addition to concurring with the edTPA bill recommendations the governor issued via conditional veto earlier this year.

Certification for Nonresident Military Spouses A-480 would extend the maximum duration of the temporary instructional certificate for nonresident military spouses, first established in 2013, from 360 days (an initial 180-day period, with the option to extend an additional 180 days) to two years (an initial 365-day period, with an option to extend an additional 365 days). The bill would also require NJDOE to establish procedures to expedite applications for this certificate. The NJSBA supports the bill, which was approved by the Assembly Military and Veterans Affairs Committee Sept. 22 and by the Assembly Regulated Professions Committee Oct. 20. It next heads to the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee for further consideration.

State Review of APSSD Audits A-4396 would prohibit the commissioner of education from issuing an adverse finding, adjustment, or penalty on the annual independent certified audit of an APSSD more than seven years following submission of the audit. The bill was approved by the Assembly Education Committee Sept. 22 and by the Assembly Appropriations Committee Dec. 12. It next heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee. NJSBA is monitoring the bill.

To view the full text of any of the bills summarized above, please visit the New Jersey Legislature’s website.