Directs State Board of Education to authorize computer science education endorsement to instructional certificate.
NJEA opposes A-3870 (Singleton, Barclay, Jones)/S2397 (Ruiz, Diegnan). These bills require the State Board of Education to create a computer science endorsement on the instructional certificate. To receive the endorsement, an individual would be required to already have an instructional certificate, and complete 3 courses in computer science and a methods class in computer science. The endorsement would be valid in all public schools, and required to teach computer science for grades 9-12.
Subject endorsements are typically valid from nursery school through grade 12. Furthermore, subject endorsements require at least 30 credits of subject area study, other than a middle school with specialization, which is an add-on certificate, but requires 15 credits in the subject, not including methods courses. This certificate would be a diminution of subject area study requirements for a subject certificate.
This narrow certificate could have consequences for an individual’s continued employment in a school district if enrollment declines or a district’s offerings change. Computer science has been shown, in prior cases, to be within the scope of a technology education certificate, a broad certificate that allows an individual to teach many different course offerings.
Statute should not delineate the requirements to receive an endorsement on the instructional certificate. This is the purview of the State Board of Education. As the field changes in the future, specific course requirements in statute will become problematic. The State Board of Education, which periodically updates regulations, is the right place to delineate specific areas of study for a teaching endorsement.
While we understand the desire of computer science teachers to create an endorsement, this bill is the wrong move. The endorsement would narrow their employment possibilities, diminish the value of a subject endorsement, and could result in computer science instructors who are not prepared to teach as the field grows and changes. For these reasons, NJEA urges you to vote no on A-3870/S-2397.
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