‘On Ramp’ to teaching profession begins for 2022-2023 school year

New Brunswick - A pair of educational agencies (LEA’s) located in Hub City were recently approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) for its “Limited Certificate of Eligibility and Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing Five-Year Pilot Program,” an act to recruit more teachers.

The pilot program, which begins this school year, was made official as a supplemental law by Governor Murphy in September 2021.

Murphy traveled to Washington D.C. today to “participate” in a White House Domestic Policy Council meeting “Focused on the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to strengthen the teaching profession and help K-12 school districts source talent to fill vacancies,” according to the governor's office. 

The two LEA’s, New Brunswick School District and the Greater Brunswick Charter School are among eight LEA’s in Middlesex County or 182 throughout the state listed on an Excel spreadsheet (as of August 19, 2022). While the document is updated weekly, the list does not seem to have grown in several weeks.

The two pathways to becoming a teacher in the state include the traditional route and the alternate route.

And while the amount of teacher vacancies is strikingly high and districts are struggling to find qualified candidates, there's no routine emergency certification in New Jersey for teachers.  

But districts are able to request that NJDOE expedite applications for Certificate's of Eligibility (CE's) or Certificate's of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS's).

This could result in a certificate being issued in as little as two weeks, said one specialist with a public school district in Mercer County, where 10 LEA's were approved. 

It typically takes as long as four months for NJDOE to review an application not expedited by an LEA.

“We can’t do anything outside of the expedite process,” the person said. “To start a position you must have the certification.”

To be sure, NJDOE said that if a candidate happens to be offered a job before they receive their certification, the employing district may request an expedited review of the application, adding, “[But] you must have obtained your certification in order to start employment.”

The program eliminates a single barrier that may be preventing otherwise qualified potential teachers from earning certification.   

For example, if a candidate’s GPA from courses on their college transcript is below the current average for certification, they can still be issued the limited CE or CEAS. But only one of the certification requirements can be waived.

While a candidate can waive the subject matter knowledge (Praxis ll) test requirement as well, with respect to the Teacher of Elementary Education certificate, in which the Praxis consists of four individual sections, at least three would each still require a passing score.

“Districts approved to hire limited CE and CEAS holders shall ensure that individuals hired under the pilot program obtain their provisional certificate no later than November 1, 2027,” stated NJDOE. “The number of certificate holders of limited CEs or CEASs in an instructional area hired shall not exceed, at any time during the pilot program, 10 percent of the school district’s total teacher population as indicated on the school district’s position control roster.”

The cost of each limited CE or CEAS is $170, which includes the issuance of the provisional certificate and standard certificate.

Today's meeting in the nation's capital that Murphy is attending, "Will be chaired by  Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice and include participation from First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, New Jersey American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, and National Education Association (NEA) President Becky Pringle, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education President Lynn Gangone, Tennessee Commissioner of Education Penny Schwinn, and executive leadership from leading job platforms, including Handshake, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter,” added the governor's office.  

An enrollment counselor at Western Governors University, a non-profit, online university based in Utah that advertises on CNN’s audio feed, recently said it was possible to get hired as a teacher in New Jersey even if someone didn’t hold a certificate in the subject area corresponding to the vacancy.    

Citing "emergency certification," the staffer with the private university insisted (wrongly) that amidst record teacher shortages, merely holding a New Jersey instructional certificate of any type was all it took to begin teaching. 

To apply for certification on the New Jersey educator certification system click here.

The list of approved LEA’s is here. 

-- Dave Schatz


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