NEW JERSEY ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS
Press Release: For Immediate Release
NJASA cannot support current proposal, which abandons educational standards, but stands ready to help create rigorous alternative that matches traditional certification
Trenton, N.J. — May 16, 2011 — The proposed alternate route certification for New Jersey school administrators has eliminated the rigorous educational standards necessary to do the job, according to the New Jersey Association of School Administrators (NJASA), and therefore the association cannot endorse it in its current form. However, NJASA will support alternative proposals that maintain the integrity of the academic principles behind traditional certification.
“The proposal suggests that “casting a wider net” for superintendent candidates will help struggling districts with achievement, without offering any evidence to support that conclusion,” notes Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the NJASA. “One might similarly suggest that lowering the entrance requirements for realtors or architects might solve the current housing crisis or raise the quality of home construction. Watering down the superintendent certification process is not an antidote for failing schools, and could even have an unintended adverse effect on student achievement. Let’s protect our educational standards, and not sacrifice rigor for convenience.”
Under current law N.J.A.C. 6A: 9-12.4, superintendent certification is an extensive process that includes testing, an internship and one year of mentoring. Candidates must possess a master’s degree and years of educational leadership experience.
The proposed amendment grants a provisional superintendent’s license to candidates with just a bachelor’s degree and some managerial experience. If approved, the provisional certificate will be available only in certain struggling districts. These include districts in need of improvement, those that are state-operated and those whose test scores have shown only partial proficiency for 50 percent or more of their students. Under supervision of a mentor, provisional superintendents would obtain permanent certification after three positive performance reviews during their first year.
“In widening the candidate pool, the state is opening school leadership positions to non-educators,” said Dr. Bozza. “While the resulting candidates may be highly qualified in their field of study, they will face a tremendous learning curve that may not be satisfied with ‘on the job’ training.
The NJASA is not opposed to an alternate route that is comparable to the current academic preparation for school administrators. The association supports the alternate route to teaching in New Jersey which requires the minimum degree requirement equivalent to that required for individuals qualifying for standard certification. It also prescribes a minimum grade point average. Alternate route teacher candidates must first pass an appropriate state test. Then, they must complete at least 200 hours of formal instruction aligned with the New Jersey Professional Standards concurrent with employment.
“Any alternate route developed for school administrators should similarly value academic preparation,” said Dr. Bozza. “The NJASA stands ready to play a role in developing and implementing that training as the Board and department see appropriate.”
The New Jersey Association of School Administrators is an organization of chief education officers and school administrators who lead school districts in New Jersey’s 21 counties. The association’s mission is to ensure a superior statewide system of education. Through ongoing professional training and education, the association shares knowledge among its members about best practices from both educational and administrative perspectives. Its goal is to move education forward by ensuring the highest quality of instruction for all New Jersey children.