NJPSA Statement in Support of Legislation Creating a New Teacher Leader Endorsement

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NJPSA issued the following statement to the Assembly in support of legislation, (A-448 (Jasey, Diegnan) / S-165 (Whelan)), which would create a new teacher -leader endorsement. The legislation is expected to be heard by the full Assembly on February 23 for final passage.  If approved the legislation will then head to the Governor for consideration.

NJPSA Statement in Support of Legislation Creating a New Teacher Leader Endorsement

(A-448 (Jasey, Diegnan) / S-165 (Whelan))

The statewide membership of the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association is pleased to support A-448 (Jasey, Diegnan) / S-165 (Whelan), legislation recognizing the critical role that teacher leadership plays in the success of students and schools.  As an association representing  building level leaders serving as principals, assistant principals and supervisors, we recognize first-hand, how teacher leadership, whether through teachers serving in formally assigned or shared  leadership roles, can strengthen an entire school’s capacity to improve and excel. 

Teacher leaders play a variety of roles in school including instructional or curriculum specialists, peer mentors, instructional coaches, data coaches, or leadership roles within a school community.  These leaders bring a deep knowledge and dedication to their profession, their classroom and their schools. 

As New Jersey embarks on a massive school reform effort focused on our adoption of the Common Core standards, corollary efforts to revamp our state curriculum and assessment systems, a shift to computer-based assessments, a stronger emphasis on data based decision-making, and the implementation of new teacher and principal evaluation systems, principals recognize that lasting reform and change will require the combined efforts of administrative leaders and building teachers. 

For this reason, we welcome the establishment of a teacher leadership endorsement, based on newly-developed national standards, which will promote teacher leadership in New Jersey in new and exciting ways.  This new endorsement will provide enhanced skills training which will prepare a teacher to take on a multitude of leadership roles in our evolving school communities.

Additionally, the endorsement creates a new career path for top quality teachers who do not wish to leave the classroom to pursue an administrative role in a school.   In the 2012 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher:  Challenges for School Leadership, 51% of teachers surveyed reported that they have a formal leadership role in their school (department chair, instructional resource, teacher mentor or leadership team member), 51% are at least somewhat interested in teaching part-time and pursuing other roles and responsibilities in their districts (with 23% being very interested in this option), but 69% of those teachers also stated that they are not at all interested in becoming a principal.  The teacher leader endorsement creates new career opportunities for these teachers and a potential pipeline for administrative positions as well.

This Fall, the Garden State Alliance to Strengthen Education (GSASE), a coalition of education associations including NJPSA and NJEA, along with representative of higher education, issued its  report, Designing a Continuum to Support Effective Teaching in New Jersey, which includes recommendations for the development of a teacher leadership endorsement through a thoughtful process via an Advisory Board as set forth in the bill before you. 

NJPSA is excited to be a part of this thoughtful approach to professional growth and leadership in our schools.  We are pleased to serve on the Advisory Board created by this legislation and to be a partner in developing new opportunities within our schools that will promote strong schools and student success.   We thank Assemblywoman Jasey, Assemblyman Diegnan and Senator Whelan, the bill sponsors, for their leadership in developing and advocating for this legislation today.