TRENTON, NJ – The Senate on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton and Senator M. Teresa Ruiz aimed at increasing diversity in the state’s education workforce, preventing teacher shortages and cultivating inclusive learning environments.
“It's a simple fact - representation matters. We need diverse role models for Black and Brown children to look up to, and this includes teachers," said Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “The importance of these kids seeing someone who looks like them, not only in leadership positions but leading their classrooms, cannot be overstated. Not only does it improve the quality of education for all students, but it opens the horizons for minority students and expands their perspective on what they can achieve.”
“We have been working hard for the past several years to cultivate an educator workforce that reflects the diversity of our state. During our hearing on teacher diversity, we heard from countless educators and advocates on the numerous factors contributing to the jarring fact that roughly one in 163,000 students in the state never see a classroom leader of color during their time in school,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “The challenges New Jersey faces with its teacher workforce is not unique to our state, but the pathways this package creates will put New Jersey at the forefront of expanding our pool of educators. It will create new avenues for individuals to enter the profession, especially in high-need areas and ensure individuals are supported so they can excel in the classroom. The bill package will help us strategically plan for the classroom of the future and the professional that will lead it.”
The bills are:
S.2829, sponsored by Senator Ruiz and Senator Troy Singleton, would establish the “Male Teachers of Color Mentorship Pilot Program” and appropriate $50,000 to fund the program. The bill was released by a vote of 38-0.
S.2830, sponsored by Senator Ruiz and Senator Singleton, would require educator preparation programs to report passing rates of students who complete certain tests and to disseminate information on test fee waiver programs. The bill would also permit the collection of a student fee for certain testing costs. The bill was released by a vote of 37-1.