Assembly bills aim to address NJ teacher shortage

Matthew Fazelpoor//May 12, 2023//

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Empty classroom

Assembly bills aim to address NJ teacher shortage

Matthew Fazelpoor//May 12, 2023//

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During a May 11 news conference in Trenton, Assembly Education Committee Chair Pamela Lampitt, D-6th District, introduced a 12-bill legislative package designed to alleviate the ongoing teacher shortage.

The measures, which follow months of collaboration between teachers, administrators, parents, students and legislators, seek to reduce barriers to entry for aspiring educators while offering support to existing ones.

“All across New Jersey, school communities are grappling with the ongoing challenge of staffing their classrooms as the demand for qualified educators continues to dramatically outweigh the supply. Teachers are foundational to the success of our schools and our students,” said Lampitt. “We must do everything within our power to place skilled educators in classrooms, ensuring students can learn and thrive in our best-in-the-nation public schools.”

Stakeholders say the pandemic exacerbated factors already in place – such as stressful working conditions and the high cost of education and certification – contributing to the shortage. Lawmakers believe these bills take aim at several root causes by seeking to fill vacancies and retain existing teachers.

The package includes:

  • Assembly Bill 5416  – Requires State Board of Education to authorize route to expedite teacher certification of persons employed as paraprofessionals in school districts. 
  • Assembly Bill 5417  – Prohibits limiting the number of county college credits that may be applied toward educator preparation program and teacher certification requirements.
  • Assembly Bill 5418  – Establishes Teacher Certification Reimbursement Fund in New Jersey Department of Education to reimburse certain teachers for costs associated with certification.
  • Assembly Bill 5419 – Removes obstacles to teacher certification for certain teachers.
  • Assembly Bill 5420 – Establishes New Jersey Student Educator Stipend Program.
  • Assembly Bill 5421 – Directs the state Board of Education to authorize issuance of new endorsements in certain fields.
  • Assembly Bill 5422 – Permits teacher, and professional staff member who provides special services, who retired from Teachers’ Pension and Annuity Fund (TPAF) to return to employment for up to two years without reenrollment in TPAF if employment commences during the 2023-2024 school year.
  • Assembly Bill 5423 – Expands eligibility for NJCLASS Teacher Loan Redemption Program.
  • Assembly Bill 5424 – Provides deduction from gross income of $500 for full-time educators and paraprofessionals and $350 for part-time educators and paraprofessionals.
  • Assembly Bill 5425 – Requires state Board of Education to reduce clinical practice requirements for certain teacher candidates.
  • Assembly Bill 5426 – Establishes New Jersey Student Educator Tuition Remission Program.
  • Assembly Bill 5427  – Prohibits commissioner of education from approving certain tests for teacher certification candidates with extended retake waiting periods.


The first seven bills listed above were advanced Thursday by the Assembly Education Committee.

“With this legislative package, we are addressing the complex issues currently plaguing the education profession and breaking down identifiable barriers that have long stood in the way of otherwise capable professionals entering, or remaining part of, New Jersey’s teacher workforce,” Lampitt added.

Seeing support

In the education community, the legislative package was applauded by representatives and stakeholders:

“The bills introduced today are derived from recommendations made by the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA) and a State Task Force created by Gov. Phil Murphy. These legislative proposals, if enacted, will greatly assist in identifying, recruiting, and supporting new educators as well as retaining current educators in their positions.”

— Richard Bozza, executive director, NJASA

“Not a day goes by that we don’t hear from our members about the difficulty they are having filling so many critical positions, which is having a detrimental impact on our students. And putting forward a thoughtful and creative package of bills along with her colleagues in the Assembly. We look forward to collaborating with her and other members of the Legislature on ways to help ease these shortages so that all students can succeed.”

— Timothy Purnell, executive director, New Jersey School Boards Association

“This is a complex problem that does not have a single solution. Each of these bills, in its own way, has the potential to help address the shortages. While more will be needed to fully meet the needs of New Jersey’s students, we are pleased to see these bills moving. We hope this helps create the momentum to do even more to address the crisis.”

— Sean Spiller, president of New Jersey Education Association (NJEA)