A New Jersey teachers union wants to change the state’s standards for entering the profession.
The Garden State requires that candidates for a teacher certification pass a basic skills test called the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, which demonstrates proficiency in reading, writing and math.
As another way of showing competency in basic skills, new teachers can show SAT, ACT or GRE scores in the top third percentile the year they were taken.
However, the New Jersey Education Association [NJEA] believes that abolishing the basic skills test will “eliminate unnecessary barriers” to the teaching profession and promote equity.
“Last year, New Jersey eliminated the edTPA, a barrier to becoming a certified teacher. Now it’s time to eliminate another barrier: the basic skills test for teachers,” a statement from the teachers union reads. The union called on Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy to sign a bill to end the requirement.
Teachers had long been required to submit an edTPA, a subject-specific portfolio-based assessment that shows a teacher is ready to work full-time in the classroom and administer assignments.
The NJEA explained further, “When the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) adopted changes to the administrative code around teacher certification, it missed an opportunity to eliminate this requirement, which created an unnecessary barrier to entering the profession.”
The NJEA’s call to eliminate the basic skills test comes amid a nationwide shortage of teachers.
School districts across the country have been struggling with an exodus of teachers since the pandemic, as teachers reported burnout stemming from the uncertainty during lockdowns.
Furthermore, some blue states have lowered standards for students, including Oregon, which removed the basic skills testing requirements to graduate high school.
Former Republican National Committee official Cassie Smedile said on “Outnumbered” that “school choice is the answer to this.”
“It used to be your zip code that determined your education. Fairfax County, Virginia –incredibly affluent county – and that’s the epicenter of all this school board nonsense.”
She went on to say, “We all know the national report card is in the tank. Failing grades across the board and now you’re going to say, ‘Oh let’s just lower the barrier of entry for the people educating our kids’ – our most prized possessions?”
Jeremy Hunt, chairman of Veterans For Duty, said that officials are “so disconnected with reality” on the situation.
“It’s scary when you think about where our education is going,” he added, while co-host Emily Compagno said she thought the NJEA’s statement was a “joke” at first.
“[Basic skills] are not a barrier. That’s the fundamental qualifications for a position description. This is a joke!” she said, wondering what would happen if other professions – like the medical community – removed “basic skills” requirements.
When FOX News Digital reached out to the NJEA for comment, they sent a statement that they submitted as a “testimony” to the New Jersey State Board of Education.
“Under current regulation at N.J.A.C. 6A:9A, the basic skills test requirement may be satisfied in multiple ways, including the Praxis I and SAT. Each of these tests is costly; moreover, many test-takers must pay additional score reporting fees. The basic skills test requirement, particularly its up-front costs, represents another equity barrier to entering the profession.
“But more importantly, it is redundant because the other requirements for licensure set a much higher bar. In other words, if an individual earns a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, it’s safe to assume they have basic skills. At NJEA, we often hear from potential members who have met all the requirements for certification except for the basic skills test: this points to flaws in the basic skills test itself. The NJDOE must act to remove this pointless requirement for all prospective teachers.”
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