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'Eliminate another barrier': Teachers' union seeks to end basic skills test requirement for aspiring educators
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'Eliminate another barrier': Teachers' union seeks to end basic skills test requirement for aspiring educators

A New Jersey teachers' union is seeking to eliminate the basic skills test requirement for aspiring educators, according to a Tuesday press release.

The New Jersey Education Association, representing approximately 200,000 active and retired education professionals, is leading an effort to remove the basic skills test required to become a teacher.

"Now it's time to eliminate another barrier," the NJEA stated.

"New Jersey requires that candidates for teacher certification pass a basic skills test, the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading, Writing and Math, or show SAT, ACT, or GRE scores in the top third percentile the year they were taken," the NJEA stated. "When the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) adopted changes to the administrative code around teacher certification, it missed an opportunity to eliminate this requirement, which created an unnecessary barrier to entering the profession."

The union is calling on New Jersey residents to contact Governor Phil Murphy to urge him to sign Bill S1553, eliminating the requirement. The NJEA believes that the move will help to address the state's teacher shortage crisis.

Last year, Murphy signed a bill eliminating the Education Teacher Performance Assessment for aspiring teachers.

"As we face a national teacher shortage, we must work to establish effective and efficient solutions to grow this critical workforce on behalf of New Jersey's students," Murphy stated. "By eliminating edTPA, we will streamline a process that has previously acted as a barrier in the transition between sitting in a classroom and leading a classroom. In New Jersey we recognize that teaching is not only a career, but a calling. I am proud to sign legislation that empowers educator prep programs to appropriately assess their candidates, which will ensure that New Jersey continues to produce the nation's best educators."

The NJEA's president, Sean Spiller, called it "a win for students and educators." According to Spiller, the assessment was a "costly, frustrating, discriminatory obstacle" that "kept qualified educators out of our classrooms."

In September, Spiller told WKXW that the number of individuals enrolled in teacher preparation programs has been declining over the past 10 years. He noted that the shortage impacts all subject areas and grade levels.

Spiller blamed New Jersey's teacher shortage on several factors, including unsatisfactory health benefits and salaries. He added that educators are also being bogged down by administrative paperwork.

"When you combine the frustration that the educators are feeling with the paperwork and the inundation with these other things that are not helpful for teaching, plus your loss in compensation both in direct salary and also the benefits, it's just a bad combination," Spiller told WKXW.

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →