TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey will become the first East Coast state to address the shortage of science and math teachers by recruiting, training and funding people with strong backgrounds in those fields through a national fellowship program.
The state will participate in the Princeton-based Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship, which offers a $30,000 stipend to fellowship recipients for graduate school in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in high-need urban or rural schools.
Foundation funding of $9 million will allow the recruitment of 240 teachers, enough to fill vacancies in Camden, Newark, Orange, Passaic, Paterson, and seven other municipalities, said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.
At a Friday news conference, Levine said the program has already shown results in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, and some fellowship recipients go on to make teaching their career.
Gov. Chris Christie detailed the state's participation, saying the program will help fill a critical need. Christie has been an advocate for education improvements especially in failing urban schools.
"We're recognizing what research has shown us for years — great teachers matter," Christie said. "Strengthening our educators with high expectations and strong support and training systems can make a life-changing difference for our children."
In New Jersey, five universities will participate: The College of New Jersey, Montclair State, Rowan, Rutgers-Camden and William Paterson.
Christie's education proposals have included retooling teacher tenure and instituting merit pay. He also has advocated for school vouchers, which would allow students in failing districts to attend school elsewhere. The Legislature has not gone along with that proposal.