The Governor signed legislation, P.L.2017, c.6 (S-1474 / A-2786 (Ruiz, Benson, Sumter, Caride, McKnight, Vainieri Huttle, Pintor Marin, Wimberly), which requires teacher preparation programs to include a certain amount of instruction or clinical experience in special education. The new law also requires aspiring teachers seeking the students with disabilities endorsement to include credit hours in autism spectrum disorder. The law, as it relates to somewhat consistent with regulatory changes that were approved back in 2015 by the State Board of Education as part of changes to teacher certification. NJPSA worked with the sponsors to align the legislation to regulatory change.
The new law requires, that in addition to any other requirements adopted by the State Board of Education for teacher preparation programs, the State board must require that the preparation program for an instructional certificate include a minimum of the equivalent of 6 semester credit hours of classroom instruction, clinical experience, including student internships, or a combination thereof, in special education. The law also requires that the preparation program for an instructional certificate with a teacher of students with disabilities endorsement include credit hours in autism spectrum disorder and comprehensive evidence-based instructional practices to address the educational strengths and needs of students with autism.