Teachers unions in New Jersey are taking important steps to fight the ongoing teacher shortage problem in the state. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) has recently called for the end of the basic skills test for certifying teachers, which they believe to be an unnecessary barrier for candidates looking to enter the profession. Governor Phil Murphy has already taken steps to alleviate the teacher shortage in the state and may agree to this latest request from the NJEA.
The basic skills test, known as the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, includes sections on reading, writing, and math. To pass, candidates must score a minimum of 156 on reading, 150 on math, and 162 on writing, out of a possible maximum score of 200. While the test is meant to ensure that teachers possess the basic skills necessary to educate students, the NJEA believes that it is hindering their efforts to combat the teacher shortage. The union stated that this requirement is creating a barrier for many qualified and passionate individuals who want to become teachers.
Not all candidates are required to take the basic skills test. Those who achieved high scores on the SAT, ACT, or GRE, or those who have obtained a master’s or terminal degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0, are exempt from the test. However, this still leaves many potential teachers unable to pursue their chosen career.
The NJEA has been successful in advocating for the end of another teacher certification test, known as the educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). They argued that this test was costly, discriminatory, and unnecessary and that its elimination would help to alleviate the teacher shortage. The union’s latest efforts are focused on the elimination of the basic skills test, and it appears that Governor Murphy may agree with them. He recently spoke at the union’s conference, where he praised their advocacy efforts and promised to continue working with them to address the teacher shortage problem.
This week dozens of schools in New Jersey closed as teachers attended the @NJEA convention. What did teachers do at this conference while thousands of kids stayed home from school?
They were treated to drag shows, drag queen storytime, and “banned books” discussions featuring… pic.twitter.com/07R6o6UdQe
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) November 12, 2023
Governor Murphy has already taken significant steps to alleviate the teacher shortage in the state. He has allocated over $20 million toward recruiting and training educators, providing stipends for student teachers, and waiving certification fees for thousands of educators. At the NJEA conference, he also promised to put an end to the burdensome Student Growth Objectives (SGOs), which have been a major point of contention for many teachers.
The governor’s remarks were met with applause and cheers from the crowd, who also expressed their approval for Murphy’s promise to support LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools. The NJEA convention also made headlines for hosting a drag queen story hour for the second year in a row. Despite the controversy surrounding this event, it is clear that the union remains committed to promoting inclusivity and tolerance in schools.
With the NJEA’s continued efforts and Governor Murphy’s support, it is possible that New Jersey will see some positive changes in the fight against teacher shortages. By eliminating unnecessary barriers and investing in the education system, the state may be able to attract and retain talented educators, ensuring a brighter future for New Jersey’s students.