Our friends at NJEdReport published an excellent piece on how “in a fit of dishonesty” Gov. Murphy’s Department of Education (DOE) is seeking to lower the proficiency standards for New Jersey high school students. We urge you to reach the entire piece because it underscores just how low Murphy is willing to stoop to package himself for a run for national office — New Jersey students and families be damned.
In this blog, Sunlight will highlight how Murphy’s effort to lower standards is merely another attempt to hide his failure to remediate the COVID-related learning loss caused by his own policies.
Recall that Murphy accommodated the teachers unions and allowed schools in numerous large districts to remain closed well after most schools re-opened. As a result, New Jersey students had some of the worst learning loss in the nation. As would be expected, this dismal reality also manifested itself on the state graduation tests: only 39.4% of NJ 11th-graders were proficient in reading and only 49.4% in math. But rather than do the hard work of remediating that learning loss and improving student performance, Murphy chooses to lower the proficiency standard from 750 to 725, which would make it look like 81% of 11th-graders were proficient in reading and 56% in math, per NJEdReport. The true (poor) condition of the students remains the same, but Murphy looks better. What a scam.
It’s actually doubly a scam because, as Sunlight has reported, Murphy’s plan to remediate this very real and measured learning loss has so far proven to be an utter failure. Tellingly, Murphy has done nothing to rescue his remediation plan and hasn’t even mentioned it in public since its launch last December. Like the NJEA — his biggest political supporter — Murphy wants to pretend that learning loss never occurred. Great for his national political ambitions, terrible for New Jersey students and families.
Seen in this light, Murphy’s lowering of standards looks like a cynical attempt to mask his multiple and compounding failures in education policy.
We say again: A governor who fails in his duty to educate New Jersey’s children is a failure as a governor.