TRENTON – Legislation intended to help reduce the shortage of teachers in science and mathematics was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday. The measure comes on the heels of a similar, successful pilot program, known as “Traders to Teachers.”
“The initial pilot program produced demonstrable results in filling some of our most pressing gaps in education,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris), a member of the Assembly Education Committee. “This legislation has helped us better prepare our students to compete in the new global economy while also providing a productive means of employment for those hit hard by the recession. It has truly been a win-win, one that we should replicate to fill the continued shortages we face in science, technology, engineering and math.”
The bill (A-2311) permits already certificated New Jersey teachers to participate in an expedited program to become credentialed to teach science and mathematics subjects on the secondary level.
“When we talk about equipping our students with the tools to succeed in the increasingly competitive global economy, this is exactly the type of program we need,” said Assemblyman Albert Coutinho (D-Essex). “It’s no secret that we tend to lag behind other developed nations in the areas of math and science. Addressing the teacher shortage in these subject areas will hopefully inspire a new generation of students to excel in these fields.”
Under the program, the State Board of Examiners will issue a subject area endorsement in mathematics or science, as appropriate, upon successful completion of the program to a teaching staff member who:
(1) Passes the appropriate state test of subject matter knowledge; and
(2) Meets such other criteria as the commissioner sets forth in regulation. The commissioner has the authority under the program to establish different criteria for completion of the program based on factors such as the subject area in which the individual intends to teach.
The bill will establish on a permanent basis a number of the provisions of the pilot program developed in the Department of Education to address the state’s shortage of science and mathematics teachers and established pursuant to the earlier law passed in 2009. The pilot program expired in January 2012.
The “Traders to Teachers” program was designed to help fast track the training of unemployed Wall Street traders and pharmaceutical employees to fill critical teacher shortages in the areas of science and math.
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