Senate Bill 896 eliminates the requirement that teachers pass a performance-based assessment – called Educative Teacher Performance Assessment or edTPA – to be eligible for teacher certification. edTPA opponents have criticized the exam as costly, time-consuming, and unnecessary. In addition, they argue that it makes getting a teaching license more difficult, contributing to shortages of qualified teachers in many schools. Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno issued the following statement regarding the legislature's decision to overturn New Jersey's mandate of the edTPA:
"We are pleased that Governor Murphy has taken this important step to address one of the most significant barriers to attracting and retaining teachers in our classrooms. The edTPA has been an ineffective barrier for aspiring educators, preventing many from pursuing their dream of becoming a teacher," said Eulner and Piperno. "Additionally, the edTPA has added an unnecessary cost burden to those seeking a teaching license and has not improved student outcomes at a time when students and their test scores have been so negatively impacted after the pandemic."
According to reports, New Jersey's students lost about seven years of educational progress during COVID-19. New Jersey's Department of Education released its standardized test results on Wednesday, December 7. The results also show that only 48.9 percent of New Jersey students met or exceeded expectations in English Language Arts, and 35.4 percent did so in mathematics. New Jersey is still one of three states that have not released their 2022 results to a public data dashboard, along with Vermont and Maine.
Added the Assemblywomen, "Parents and teachers are understandably concerned about the drop in test scores, and they have every right to be. However, we are hopeful that these results will spur action to ensure that we can prevent another pandemic like COVID-19 from happening again. We thank Governor Murphy for taking a vital first step to allow more qualified candidates to enter the classroom, improving New Jersey's education system for all students."