Two state legislators want to make it easier for prospective teachers to start their college educations at a two-year community college.

Assemblywomen Pamela R. Lampitt and Connie Wagner want to eliminate State Board of Education restrictions that limit to six the number of education course credits  students can transfer from a two-year college to a four-year program. They said in a press release that this almost invariably forces students to repeat coursework at a four-year college, increasing costs and delaying their graduation.

          “There is no reason that a student who has satisfactorily completed education coursework at the community college level should have to retake those same courses upon enrolling at a four-year institution,” said Lampitt (D-Camden) chair of the Assembly Education Committee. 

            Under the bill (A-1550), the State Board would be prohibited from limiting the number of education credits earned at a two-year college that can be applied toward the requirements for teacher certification.

                        “If we’re making the case in New Jersey that there is no difference between credits earned at a two-year school and credits earned at a four-year school, then that should actually be the case,” said Wagner (D-Bergen).  “Getting rid of what amounts to a higher education money grab is simply the right thing to do for students.”

The bill is a good idea if there is agreement that the courses taken at the two-year colleges are equal to those taken at the four-year colleges. 

            The committee unanimously voted to release the bill.  It now heads to the Assembly Speaker, who decides if and when to post it for a floor vote.

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