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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 today approved this legislation.
“The life of a military spouse is already made difficult by repeated deployments and having to move from state to state. There is no reason we should be making trying to have a career part of that difficulty. And when it comes to teaching, we should be doing all we can to encourage people to take up that profession. New Jersey should welcome these men and women with open arms to our workforce. By breaking down barriers to employment, we can show our support for these families, and provide them with a path to a good job,” said Senator Greenstein, D-Middlesex.
The bill, S-1927, 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.
"We undoubtedly owe our men and women in uniform a debt of gratitude for their service, but we also cannot forget the spouses who are left to make ends meet when their loved ones are away," said Beach, D-Camden and Burlington. "Many have sacrificed their own careers for the benefit of their spouses. For teachers, constant transfers can delay the process of gaining professional licensure, causing a significant loss of family income. This legislation would help ease those difficulties as military families move into our state and 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 was approved with a vote of 40-0.
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"When you're asked to cast a vote on a bill and it seems innocuous, and it's got a hidden land mine that perhaps only an expert would see, it would sort of behoove those experts to tell us in advance rather than make us look, shall we say, a little bit indecisive later on." - Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll (R-25).- NJTV
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