The Assembly Higher Education Committee has given the green light to a bill that would provide monetary incentives to help retain and attract teachers to struggling schools in the Garden State.

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Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman says her legislation creates a loan redemption program in the Higher Education Students Assistance Authority, and a bonus program for teachers employed in schools in need of improvement.

She says “a good teacher can make all the difference in how a child approaches education. Nearly 30 percent of the state’s schools failed to meet targets in the federal No Child Left Behind Act. How is a school supposed to improve when it can’t keep or attract teachers?”

Watson Coleman adds “these incentives serve to encourage teachers to remain in these schools and help strengthen them. If extending certain benefits to teachers can help improve academic performance and create a better learning environment for students who may be falling behind, then they are worth pursuing.”

Under the program, a participant could redeem 20 percent of eligible student loan expenses for each year of service as a teacher in a school in need of improvement in New Jersey, for a total redemption of 100 percent of eligible student loan expenses in return for five full years of service.

The measure now heads to the full Lower House for consideration.