Assembly Ed Moves Computer Science Certification Bill & Resolution Calling State Board Adoption of Grad Requirements Inconsistent With Legislative Intent

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The Assembly Education Committee at its meeting on February 13, moved several pieces of legislation, including a bill to that seeks to create a new endorsement for computer science as well as a resolution that seeks to declare recently adopted regulation related to utilizing PARCC as a graduation requirement is inconsistent with legislative intent. 

Computer Science Endorsement

The committee approved legislation, A-3870 (Singleton / Barclay / Jones),  that would direct the State Board of Education to authorize a computer science education endorsement to instructional certificate.

Specifically, the bill directs the State Board of Education to authorize a computer science education endorsement to the instructional certificate.  The endorsement would authorize the holder to teach computer science in all public schools, and would be required to teach computer science in grades 7 through 12 beginning at such time as the State board determines that there is a sufficient number of teachers holding the computer science education endorsement to make the requirement feasible.

Under the bill, the standards established by the State board would require a candidate for the computer science education endorsement to:

1)    hold a standard instructional certificate with at least one other teaching endorsement; and

2)    provide documentation of the completion of computer science related coursework requirements determined by the State board up to a maximum of 15 credits.

The bill also includes a grandfather provision that permits a teacher to be issued a computer science education endorsement upon application to the State Board of Examiners, if the person is teaching computer science within the three years prior to such time as the State board determines to require a computer science education endorsement to teach computer science.

The Senate version of the legislation, S-2397 (Ruiz/Diegnan), was heard in the Senate Education Committee last week (Senate Ed Approves Bill Approving Sup Cap, Chronic Absenteeism Measure & Legislation Requiring An Aide on School Buses Carrying Special Needs Students, February 9, 2017).

NJPSA worked with the sponsor to seek several amendments that would vest the Board with the responsibility to determine what coursework would be appropriate for the endorsement rather than set the criteria within the legislation.   We continue to seek amendatory language would eliminate the 15 credit requirement under the bill, instead allowing the State Board to set standards/course requirements.  NJPSA will also continue to work with the sponsors to address concerns related to grandfathering under the bill (the bill would allow individuals teaching computer science within 3 years of the establishment of the endorsement to be grandfathered).


Graduation Requirements

The Committee also approved a concurrent resolution, ACR-215 (Jasey / Caride), that seeks to declare inconsistent with legislative intent State Board of Education regulations to revise assessment required for students to demonstrate graduation proficiency to be inconsistent with legislative intent (State Board Approves PARCC As Grad Requirement, Adopts EdTPA & Says Farewell to Board Member Dorothy Strickland, August 4, 2016).

If passed, the State Board of Education will have 30 days from the date of transmittal of this resolution to amend or withdraw the regulations, or the Legislature may, by passage of another concurrent resolution, exercise its authority under the Constitution to invalidate the regulations.

NJPSA is monitoring this legislation.

Other Legislation Approved

Also approved was legislation, A-1271 / S-792 (Caride / Sarlo), which would permit newly created regional school districts or enlarging regional school districts to determine apportionment methodology for their boards of education on basis other than population as well as a bill, A-4457 (Caride) which would provide immunity to board of director members and employees of private schools for students with disabilities if they report incidents of bullying in compliance with school policy.