The author is a New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) staff member who wishes to remain anonymous.
Thank you for publishing Amy Avaceto’s editorial of February 9, 2022, regarding NJDOE’s acceptance of national accreditation for teacher certification purposes. Though the editorial rightly indicates that national accreditation comprises diploma mills, it neglected an important element that must be addressed.
The acceptance of national certification was rubber-stamped by DOE Assistant Commissioner Jorden Schiff, much to the dismay and confusion by DOE staff.
In a recent, closed-quarters meeting, Schiff supported Senator Teresa Ruiz’s Limited Certificate, introduced in a recent bill, on the basis that it will allow more teachers into the classrooms to fill a perceived shortage. However, the Limited Certificate allows those with lower credentials to receive certification. Is Schiff’s reasoning for national certification acceptance based on the same notion?
Reputedly, the NJDOE certification office has a backlog of several months of teacher nominations to review. Most of those who are part of that backlog surely hold the required credentials to meet state regulations for certification. Why then would either a Limited Certificate or national certification be an option? Would it not be up to the DOE’s recruitment office to find the means to place those who are justly and traditionally certified into districts?
Since Schiff has yet to address his reasoning behind the national accreditation move, perhaps he can respond to this posting so that DOE and NJ college staff, as well as concerned parents, may gain a clear understanding of his decision. A communicative exchange is clearly needed.