A bill by Assembly Democrats Mila Jasey, Albert Coutinho, Dan Benson and Ralph Caputo to help reduce teacher shortages, particularly in math and science, has signed into law by Governor Chris Christie.

The new law permits already certificated New Jersey teachers to participate in an expedited program to become credentialed to teach science and math subjects on the secondary level, or any subject area in which there is a shortage of teachers in the state as determined by the United States Department of Education.

“The initial pilot program produced demonstrable results in filling some of our most pressing gaps in education,” says Jasey, a member of the Assembly Education Committee. “This legislation has helped us better prepare our students to compete in the new global economy while also providing a productive means of employment for those hit hard by the recession. It has truly been a win-win, one that we should replicate to fill the continued shortages we face in science, technology, engineering and math.”

Under the program, the State Board of Examiners will issue a subject area endorsement in mathematics or science, as appropriate, upon successful completion of the program to a teaching staff member who passes the appropriate state test of subject matter knowledge and meets such other criteria as the commissioner sets forth in regulation. The commissioner has the authority under the program to establish different criteria for completion of the program based on factors such as the subject area in which the individual intends to teach.

Caputo explains, “Education is the key to success, but for students that can only be accomplished with adequate levels of staffing, particularly in more challenging subject areas. Lowering classroom sizes helps boost student achievement, which will benefit them all around in the long-run.”