AVACETO: We Should Be Outraged That Murphy’s Education Department is Lowering Standards for Teachers

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Amy Avaceto is a concerned New Jersey parent.

The latest buzz at the New Jersey Department of Education (NJ DOE) is as disturbing as it is widespread. Sources on the inside have shared that effective immediately, the NJ DOE will acknowledge nationally recognized accreditation for the purposes of certification and educator preparation program approval. Though regional accreditation is still acceptable, it is no longer the only option for teacher certification. National accreditation is, and it can now be accepted for certification purposes. This means means distant learning institutions and trade schools can be accepted for DOE certification but many of these institutions are no more than diploma mills. 

A quick google search finds that there is a big difference between regional accreditation and national accreditation. Regionally-accredited schools are considered the most prestigious and widely-recognized type of accreditation. Nationally-accredited school are institutions of a similar type, such as career, vocational, and technical, that are predominantly for-profit institutions that earn revenue via enrollment or by selling educational products. Regionally-accredited schools are more selective during the admissions process and will not accept coursework taken at nationally accredited schools.

As a parent with children in NJ schools, the thought of an ill-prepared teacher guiding my child in a classroom is unacceptable. It is bad enough that parents must accept the existence of a soon-to-be Limited Certificate where the candidates can earn certification without having fulfilled all aspects of the current regulations, but now these same candidates can slip their way in with a questionable degree they have earned for a meager few thousand dollars. 

For those parents who are putting their children through reputable, regionally-accredited colleges, why would anyone now spend that money for a quality education? Regionally-accredited colleges ensure that those who earn degrees from them will walk away with a well-rounded and practical education, based on trusted academia as offered by the most proficient professors available. The sad reality is now a liberal arts degree earned at Harvard University will get you the same teaching certificate in New Jersey as a degree granted from a nationally accredited diploma mill.

Our children deserve much better than this, especially after two years of COVID restrictions and learning. You cannot deny our schools are in crisis and many NJ students are very behind in learning. Young minds deserve to be taught by only the brightest and the best, so that they can also help others become the brightest and the best.    

Parents, tax payers, and devoted educators should be outraged by what DOE has done and demand that this negligent decision is reversed before this generation of NJ students suffers from this misconstrued stunt. This is not the time to relax certification regulations and dumb down the teacher certification process. NJ must do better.

 

 

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