Volume 11/issue 51 - Thursday, August 20, 2020
  • Senator Ruiz Introduces Bill Package to Increase Teacher Diversity
  • Fall High School Sports Can Resume
  • New Jersey Considers Leaving PJM, Possibly Joining New York
  • PSE&G to Reimburse Customers for Food and Medicine Loss during Isaias Power Outage

Senator Ruiz Introduces Bill Package to Increase Teacher Diversity: Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz introduced a package of bills to increase diversity in the state's education workforce and prevent teacher shortages.

"This bill package represents a comprehensive approach to addressing those issues and improving our alternative pathways to help ensure our educators reflect the diversity we see in our classrooms and our communities,” said Senator Ruiz.

The bills are:

*S2825 would establish a loan redemption program for certain bilingual education teachers.

*S2826 would require the State Board of Education to establish procedures for the issuance of a limited certificate of eligibility for certain teacher candidates. Following two effective or highly effective evaluations, the teacher would be eligible for a standard instructional certificate.

*S2827 would require teachers to biennially complete two hours of professional development related to cultural competency. The instruction would include personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, acts of microaggression in the classroom, and implicit bias.

*S2828 would require the Department of Education to develop a credential that would introduce teachers to culturally responsive teaching practices, characteristics, and methods.

*S2829 would establish the "Male Teachers of Color Mentorship Pilot Program" and appropriate $50,000 to fund the program.

*S2830 would require educator preparation programs to report passing rates of students who complete certain tests and to disseminate information on test fee waiver programs. The bill would also permit the collection of a student fee for certain testing costs.

*S2831 would grant reciprocity to teachers with certain out of state certificates.

*S2833 would establish the teacher apprenticeship program.

*S2834 would mandate training on culturally responsive teaching for all candidates for a teaching certification.

*S2835 would require the compilation of data and the issuance of an annual report on the teacher workforce, including the number of vacant positions, new positions, eliminated positions, and anticipated retirements.

Fall High School Sports Can Resume: This week, Governor Phil Murphy announced that fall high school sports can resume in New Jersey, but that the final decision and guidelines will be issued later this week by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Association. Murphy said that school districts will have the option to resume athletics as they see fit, but also noted that students should be allowed to participate in sports even if they have opted to attend classes virtually.

New Jersey Considers Leaving PJM, Possibly Joining New York: This week, the New Jersey State Senate considered withdrawing from the PJM marketplace – a move stemming from years of frustration that could have wide-reaching effects on the state’s ability to consume and distribute electricity .

PJM, an acronym based on the key member states of Pennsylvania, Jersey and Maryland, now encompasses 13 states and the District of Columbia, stretching from Illinois to West Virginia. With new pushes to decarbonize energy generation, New Jersey policymakers have grown increasingly frustrated with what they see as PJM’s heavy-handed and outdated approach to generation. “PJM has this very traditional way of ensuring reliability that ends up favoring fossil fuel plants — it has to get past that,” said Tom Rutigliano of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

PSE&G to Reimburse Customers for Food and Medicine Loss during Isaias Power Outage:  PSE&G, New Jersey's largest utility, announced that it will reimburse customers for food and medication that spoiled during power outages caused by Tropical Storm Isaias earlier this month.

“We recognize that losing power in August, together with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a hardship for many of our customers,” PSE&G President Dave Daly said in a statement.

PSE&G said it will reimburse residential customers who lost power for at least 72 hours up to $250 for food spoilage. Commercial customers may receive up to $5,000.

For losses of prescription medication, residential customers can be reimbursed up to $300. Customers must file claims by Sept. 16.