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TRENTON – In an effort to support military families and ease their transition into New Jersey, Senators Linda R. Greenstein and Jim Beach have sponsored legislation that would allow qualified military spouses to teach in New Jersey while completing additional requirements for teacher certification. The Senate Education Committee today unanimously approved this legislation.
“While the men and women of our Armed Forces are courageously protecting our country, their spouses are often the glue holding their families together back here at home. Military spouses often make great sacrifices in support of their loved ones including repeated deployments and constant transfers to new states, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their own careers as well,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex and Mercer. “New Jersey is always looking to add more qualified teachers into our ranks, particularly in areas such as math and science where we have statewide shortages. These men and women could be a great addition to our workforce and by breaking down barriers to employment, we can show our support for these families, and provide them with a path to a good job.”
The bill, S-2892, would require the state Board of Education to issue temporary instructional certificates to nonresident spouses of active duty members of the Armed Forces who are subject to a military transfer into New Jersey. When issuing these certificates, the Board of Education would consider whether the military spouse holds a valid and current teaching license in another state for which there is an equivalent grade-level or subject endorsement, has taught successfully for at least three years, has met New Jersey’s grade point average requirement for instructional certification or has completed continuing education courses. The temporary certificate would be valid for 180 days and may be extended for an additional 180 days to provide the military spouse with the opportunity to meet New Jersey’s teaching certification requirements.
“As vital members of military families, these men and women are providing great services to our country here at home while their spouses are protecting our country overseas and in our Armed Forces,” said Senator Beach, D-Camden/Burlington. “Many of them have sacrificed their careers for the benefit of their spouses’ military careers. Since gaining licensure after a military transfer can cause a spouse to lose six to nine months of income, a major strain is put on these families’ pocketbooks. This legislation would not only help ease those difficulties as families move into the state but also ensure that we are doing our part for these heroic families.”
According to the US Department of Defense, 26 percent of military spouses are unemployed and currently seeking work – which is more than three times the national unemployment rate. Additionally, one-third of all military spouses work in a field that requires state licensure with teaching being the most common occupation for a military spouse.
Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have been promoting spousal license portability for military families. Currently 23 states have adopted legislation to support military spouse professional license portability. A measure that would provide temporary nursing licenses for military spouses was signed into law in December.
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
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