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New Jersey Drops Basic Skills Requirement for New Teachers

Aspiring teachers in New Jersey are no longer required to prove they are proficient in reading, writing and math.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Monday the elimination of the state’s basic skills test requirement. Passing the exam was previously required for teachers to become certified if they did not score in the top one-third percentile of the SAT, ACT or GRE.

Under the new law, teachers can now skip the exam and instead receive an alternate teaching certificate. After four years of employment at a state-approved school, which includes public and charter schools, the educators will then receive a standard teaching certificate.

The elimination was long cheered by the state’s teachers union, which called the basic skills test an “unnecessary barrier.”


However, others disagree, arguing New Jersey “caved to teacher union demands” by lowering standards.

“If teachers cannot read, write, and do math, they have no hope of instilling those skills in the rising generation,” Angela Morabito, a spokesperson for the Defense of Freedom Institute and former press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, told CITC. {snip}