A governor who fails in his duty to educate New Jersey’s children is a failure as a governor. ALL New Jersey children, including — especially — those who are struggling the most. Like the Black and Latino kids who suffered the greatest learning loss from COVID-related school closures on Governor Murphy’s watch. But Murphy is AWOL.
We know that, due to the extended school closures, New Jersey had some of the worst learning loss in the nation. Last year, fewer than half of New Jersey students were proficient in ELA and only 35% in math on state tests. The numbers were even worse for Black and Latino students.
This year, thousands of New Jersey high school students were allowed to graduate with unaddressed learning loss. And, without remediation, thousands more will continue to fall irreversibly behind and likely never catch up. Research tells us that all of these students’ chances for success in life will be negatively impacted. Murphy knows this: he called addressing learning loss “a top priority” of his administration.
So what has Gov. Murphy doing about this top priority? Next to nothing. One failed and one failing tutoring program.
There’s a pattern here. Recall that in 2022 Murphy unconscionably sat on the state test results until public outcry forced him to release them. Once these test results revealed massive learning loss, Murphy announced his plan — the New Jersey Partnership for Student Success (NJPSS) — to recruit, train and field 5,000 volunteer tutors. But according to the Star-Ledger, a year later and NJPSS is dead in the water, with fewer than 10% of the sought-after applicants. Unsurprisingly, Murphy has been completely silent about (the failed) NJPSS.
Which brings us to the current (failing) program. In March, Murphy’s DOE launched its “Learning Acceleration Program: High-Impact Tutoring,” which would provide grants of up to $768,000 to school districts for tutoring programs to be awarded by October 11. Tina Kelley of the Star-Ledger recently reported that this tutoring program is “far behind schedule, leaving educators concerned that delays are wasting learning opportunities and money.” Per NJEdReport, the word on the street is that the DOE “isn’t close to meeting its goal of notifying districts about whether their grants proposals are approved,” which will mean further delays.
As State Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz told Kelley: This is nothing less than “a state of emergency” that “should be a state of emergency for everyone.” Yet Ruiz sees “no sense of urgency from the state.” Here’s looking at YOU, Governor Murphy!
Except that at the time Murphy was busy touring Japan and South Korea. Good for his aspirations for national office but bad for the Black and Latino kids back home in Newark, Paterson and Montclair.
It sure looks like Murphy’s heart just isn’t into addressing the learning loss that his policies allowed. Remember that Murphy’s biggest political supporter, the NJEA — which devoted $20 million to Murphy’s election and re-election — was the driving force behind keeping New Jersey schools closed. The NJEA would like to pretend that learning loss never occurred and Murphy appears to be happy to go along. Perhaps he’s thinking about NEA/NJEA support for his future political aspirations.
Where’s the urgency called for by Sen. Ruiz, Governor Murphy? Will the Class of 2024 also be given diplomas despite their unaddressed learning loss? This is a shameful abdication of your duty to educate New Jersey’s children.
We say again: A governor who fails in his duty to educate New Jersey’s children is a failure as a governor.