SENATE, No. 1026

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JANUARY 17, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JIM WHELAN

District 2 (Atlantic)

Senator  CHRISTOPHER J. CONNORS

District 9 (Atlantic, Burlington and Ocean)

Assemblywoman  MILA M. JASEY

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

Assemblyman  WAYNE P. DEANGELO

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblywoman  CLEOPATRA G. TUCKER

District 28 (Essex)

Assemblyman  DANIEL R. BENSON

District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)

Assemblyman  RUBEN J. RAMOS, JR.

District 33 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Senators Allen, Beach, Ruiz, Madden, A.R.Bucco, Gordon, Assemblyman Caputo, Assemblywoman Gove, Assemblyman Rumpf, Assemblywoman Mosquera, Assemblymen Milam, O'Donnell and McKeon

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes “VETeach Pilot Program” in DOE to facilitate the teacher certification of veterans.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing the “VETeach Pilot Program” in the Department of Education and supplementing chapter 6 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  There is established in the Department of Education a four-year “VETeach Pilot Program.”  The purpose of the pilot program shall be to address the shortage of certified public school teachers that is anticipated to occur due to teacher retirements, by taking advantage of the qualified workforce represented by the State’s veterans.  The pilot program shall facilitate the teacher certification of veterans in order to advance the State’s goals of ensuring a qualified public school workforce and addressing the high rate of unemployment among returning veterans.

     b.    Under the pilot program, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey shall enroll in a 36-month teacher preparation program, a single cohort of students who are veterans of the United States Armed Forces and who served on or after September 11, 2001.  The program shall lead to a baccalaureate degree and completion of the requirements necessary to apply to the State Board of Examiners for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing.

     c.     Richard Stockton College of New Jersey shall establish, with the approval of the State Board of Education, the coherent sequence of courses required to be completed by a student under the pilot program in order to be eligible to receive a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing.  A certificate of eligibility with advanced standing issued to a student who completes the pilot program shall authorize the student to seek employment as a teacher in grades K through 8, and in certain secondary education fields.

     d.    Upon the conclusion of the pilot program, the commissioner shall report to the Governor, and to the Legislature pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), on the number of veterans who enrolled in the teacher preparation program established under the pilot program, the number of those veterans who were hired as teachers in public or nonpublic schools, and the advisability of the establishment of similar programs on a permanent basis.

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes the “VETeach Pilot Program” in the Department of Education.  The purpose of the pilot program is to address the shortage of certified public school teachers that is anticipated to occur due to teacher retirements, by taking advantage of the qualified workforce represented by the State’s veterans.          Under the pilot program, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey will enroll, in a 36-month teacher preparation program, veterans who served in the armed forces on or after September 11, 2001.  The program will lead to a baccalaureate degree and completion of the requirements necessary to apply to the State Board of Examiners for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing, which will authorize the veteran to seek employment as a teacher in grades K through 8, and in certain secondary education fields.

     The educational expenses incurred by these eligible students will be covered under the “Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act,” also known as the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  The establishment of the pilot program represents one of a series of veteran employment initiatives to be advanced under the auspices of Operation College Promise, which provides resources to help veterans maximize the education benefits they have earned.

     According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served since September 11, 2001, was 11.5% in 2010.  The unemployment rate for veterans with higher levels of education was lower than for veterans with less education. 

     Also, a 2009 report by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future found that more than a third of the nation’s 3.2 million teachers could retire in the next four years.  The high attrition rate among new teachers of nearly 33% is also troubling, and leaves school districts with a loss of teaching talent that is becoming more difficult to replace. 

     The “VETeach Pilot Program” will provide veterans with a path to education and employment.  Veterans will be able to obtain higher education and employment opportunities, while filling a predicted critical shortage in the teaching profession.  The program may also serve to attract a greater number of men and minorities, groups which are currently underrepresented in the teaching profession.