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New Jersey education union pushes to end basic skills test to become teacher

The union's political arm said the test "created an unnecessary barrier to entering the profession."

Published: November 19, 2023 2:52pm

Updated: November 19, 2023 3:06pm

A major New Jersey education union is pushing Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to sign a bill into law that would eliminate the basic skills test requirement to become a teacher in the state. 

The New Jersey Senate and state Assembly passed a bill in June that would allow the State Education Board to issue an alternative certificate to a teacher candidate who meets all eligibility requirements except for the requirement to achieve a minimum basic reading, writing and math skills test score.

Earlier this month, the New Jersey Education Association Action Center called on the public to send a letter to Murphy demanding he immediately sign the legislation. 

The group, which is the political arm of the 200,000-member New Jersey Education Association union, said the basic skills test was an "unnecessary requirement" and it "created an unnecessary barrier to entering the profession."

Murphy already signed a law late last year eliminating the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment, which the governor said would "streamline a process that has previously acted as a barrier in the transition between sitting in a classroom and leading a classroom." Prospective teachers were required to take the assessment before being eligible to obtain a permanent standard teaching certificate. 

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