Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (S2563) amending the New Jersey Department of Education grant program for STEM teachers established by the Governor in 2019. Signed amid a nationwide teacher shortage, the law will incentivize public school STEM teachers to participate in the program and ensure that nonpublic school students have access to STEM education.
The legislation expands the number of educators who are eligible to provide STEM instruction at nonpublic schools in addition to their public school duties. The law also broadens the hours at which public school teachers can teach at nonpublic schools, in addition to increasing teacher compensation for participating in the program.
“As we continue to support our students through the most formidable challenges of the 21st century, it is imperative that we continue to ensure that all students have access to a world-class STEM education,” said Governor Murphy. “Since the beginning of my Administration, I have remained unwavering in my commitment not just to New Jersey children, but to the teachers responsible for our students’ instruction, safety, and wellbeing. The expansion of the program I signed into law three years ago will provide current and prospective public school educators with greater flexibility and compensation to provide STEM education to nonpublic school students.”
Primary sponsors for the legislation include Senators Vin Gopal and Shirley K. Turner and Assemblymembers Gary S. Schaer and Sterley S. Stanley.
“Given the difficult big picture environmental, technological and biological questions facing our world, the need for high-quality and diversified STEM classes, curriculum and instruction for our young people is more vital than ever,” said Senator Gopal, Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “By moving to further enhance the STEM educator grant program, we can attract more committed, well-qualified teachers to join the ranks, and feed the minds of hungry students who wish to pursue meaningful and worthwhile careers across the STEM spectrum.”
“The improved STEM Educator Grant Program is a crucial step in ensuring educational equity for every student in New Jersey, regardless of what school they attend,” said Assemblyman Schaer. “Generous State funded grants will create needed opportunities for our highly qualified public school teachers in nonpublic schools that cannot provide advanced STEM programming. This legislation represents an essential component of New Jersey’s historic investments in emerging technologies and groundbreaking innovations.”
“Educators throughout New Jersey share a common goal of wanting to provide students with greater learning opportunities in school and greater chances for success after graduation,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “This legislation helps us move toward that goal by building upon incentives designed to introduce high-quality STEM coursework to more New Jersey students.”
“This innovative program has expanded access to a STEM education for many communities and these changes will further enhance the ability of teachers to participate and for schools to utilize the educational opportunity it provides their students,” said Katie Katz, Executive Director of Teach NJ.