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Today Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 896, which prohibits the New Jersey Department of Education from requiring the completion of a performance-based assessment as condition of teaching certification, specifically the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), which has been the subject of much criticism; some hypothesize it deters prospective teachers from finishing their programs. The State Legislature passed the bill last September. Now education preparation programs will be responsible to create appropriate performance-based assessments.
New Jersey Education Association President Sean Spiller said in a joint statement with Murphy that the test “was an unnecessary Christie-era holdover that was keeping highly qualified educators out of New Jersey classrooms at a time when they are more needed than ever” and “a win for students and educators in New Jersey. We are glad that our future educators will now be able to focus their time and energy on developing and practicing the real-world skills that will bring them success in their future classrooms so that our public schools can remain the very best in America.”
“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,” said Governor Murphy. “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 legislation signed today eliminates the State Board of Education’s ability to require candidates to complete a Commissioner of Education approved performance-based assessment, including the edTPA, as a condition of certification. Rather, under the legislation signed today, CEAS and CE candidates will be required to complete performance-based assessments as part of their EPP, beginning with teaching candidates who complete their EPP in the spring of 2024.
“In the midst of a teacher shortage, we should assist teaching candidates rather than further obstruct their opportunity to teach in a classroom,” said Senator Shirley K Turner. “The edTPA assessment has been a hindrance to the progression of current and prospective educators. It is a costly, unnecessary, and unreliable exam that has complicated the accreditation process for teaching candidates. Eradicating this burdensome assessment is a step in the right direction to make New Jersey a more equitable state.”
“When fighting a national teacher shortage, we must find ways to recruit and hire more, qualified educators quickly,” said Assemblyman Anthony Verrelli. “With this bill, we remove another barrier to teaching for those who want to work with the next generation of students.”
“Recent years have presented our schools with many significant challenges, including a national teacher shortage. Our students deserve the best education possible, and to deliver that we must have a fully staffed teacher workforce,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey. “At our meeting of the Joint Committee on the Public Schools addressing the teacher shortage, the EdTPA was repeatedly identified as a contributor to the shortage. I am gratified we are eliminating this expensive test which does nothing to predict classroom success.”
“NJPSA applauds Governor Murphy and the State Legislature for recognizing that edTPA is no longer necessary and that the real-world experiences of student teaching serve aspiring teachers more,” said Karen Bingert, Executive Director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association. “This shift both benefits teaching candidates both financially and professionally empowers teaching interns to focus on developing their skills in the classroom, working with students, and learning from their mentors.”
“School leaders are grateful for the support of the Governor to place assessment of prospective teachers within their preparation program,” said Dr. Richard G. Bozza, Executive Director of NJ Association of School Administrators. “This action eliminates one hurdle to recruiting and retaining new teachers in New Jersey school districts and integrates candidates’ performance assessment within their preparation programs.”
“At a time when districts across New Jersey are facing an unprecedented teacher shortage, the Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools applauds the Legislature and the Governor’s action to eliminate the edTPA assessment as a requirement for teacher certification,” said NJ Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools Executive Director Jackie Burke. “The removal of this costly and unnecessary burden will allow our schools to attract more candidates into the teaching profession.”
“The New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (NJACTE) applauds the Governor for his signature today on this important bill and his commitment and that of the Senate and Assembly to the teaching profession,” said Stacey Leftwich, President of the New Jersey Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. “As New Jersey continues to combat a growing teacher shortage, this new law will ensure that our members can meet the demand of preparing the teachers of tomorrow.”