NJ may require all teachers get training on remote learning
TRENTON – In the belief that remote learning is here to stay, state lawmakers are looking to impose educational requirements on the topic for both prospective and established teachers in New Jersey.
The Assembly Education Committee advanced bills Thursday that would mandate training on remote teaching for all candidates for teaching certification starting in the 2022-23 school year and make public school teachers and leaders complete a professional development program on the subject.
“Schools are going to look different. We’re going to continue to adapt. Training on devices, remote learning and remote teaching are going to part of the landscape,” said Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, D-Essex.
Jasey said she sees it daily with her sister, a high-school teacher in Newark, which has been fully remote since March. She said her sister said training has been limited but that she is good with a computer and trains other teachers.
“Developing lessons, developing quizzes and tests and feedback, trying to stay in touch with her students, is a daily challenge,” Jasey said.
Assemblywoman Pam Lampitt, D-Camden, said the Department of Education should maintain, compile and update a list of professional development resources, so schools can focus on teaching. Her bill was amended to allow districts to choose programs that aren’t on the state’s list without needing a waiver.
“Technology keeps on changing. The resources that we have keep on changing,” Lampitt said.
“There are teachers out there who are willing and wanting additional training if this is going to be something that’s going to stay, virtual teaching, which we all believe it will in some part and parcel,” she said.
Francine Pfeffer, associate director of government relations for the New Jersey Education Association, said the union has concerns with a mandate for current teachers. She said professional development should be personally tailored to each individual teacher’s needs and that a statewide mandate would lead to generic, ineffective training for everyone.
“All the members I have asked have said they have had too much PD on this topic,” Pfeffer said. “And we are concerned about this. They have been receiving it since last year, and they’ve been receiving it ad nauseum.”
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.