Gov. Murphy’s Department of Education (NJDOE) looks like its failing on multiple fronts, yet Murphy has nothing to say about it.
The always attentive NJEdReport published a piece yesterday entitled “New Analysis Shows New Jersey Is Failing the Reading Test,” describing a new study that found that NJDOE has failed in promoting literacy programs in New Jersey schools — just as it has failed in its expansion of pre-school. These failures prompt Sunlight to ask about Murphy’s much-touted plan to recruit and train 5,000 volunteer tutors to remediate the massive learning loss caused by Murphy’s school closure policies. Where’s your update on your New Jersey Partnership for Student Success (NJPSS), governor?
NJEdReport goes into detail about the NJDOE’s failures regarding literacy programs and pre-school expansion, which is all worth reading. The bottom line is that NJDOE is performing “at a fraction” of its capacity due to its lack of “leadership, staff and expertise.”
These NJDOE failures cause Sunlight to ask whether Murphy’s tutoring initiative is another NJDOE failure. Time is of the essence, as the longer the learning loss isn’t remediated, the farther students fall behind. Sadly, it’s already too late for this year’s graduating class, but it’s not for the classes behind them. Yet we have no idea how Murphy’s plan is faring.
It seems Murphy would rather everyone forget about the learning loss that his accommodation of the teachers unions caused. Like the teachers unions, rather than remediate learning loss, he would rather pretend it didn’t occur.
Recall that Murphy’s NJDOE unconscionably delayed the release of state testing data, and only did so after much prodding from the media and education and legislative leaders. Forced to address the issue at last, Murphy announced the creation of NJPSS in December, 2022. NJPSS’s goal was mobilizing 5,000 volunteer tutors, who were to be recruited, screened, trained and supported by the NJDOE. That’s a tall order for an NJDOE that lacks sufficient capacity, leadership, staff and expertise. And, indeed, it appears that NJPSS has not done very much.
Sunlight searched in vain for an update on the status of Murphy’s NJPSS initiative. We did find that NJDOE set up a website and has run weekly ads soliciting volunteers on Twitter and Facebook, but that’s about it. There were zero updates on the progress of NJPSS in recruiting volunteer tutors and getting them out in the field helping students recover from learning loss.
Importantly, Murphy made no mention of NJPSS in his State of the State address. We suspect that if he had something good to report, he would have mentioned NJPSS. But he didn’t. We can only assume that there is little good to report.
So Sunlight asks:
- How many volunteers have been recruited?
- How many have been trained?
- How many are tutoring students?
- How many students are being helped?
With an eye seemingly on a White House run, Murphy has plenty to say about the national issues like the controversy over Advance Placement classes in African-American History but remains silent about his NJDOE’s failures and his plan for learning loss remediation.
A governor who fails in his duty to educate New Jersey’s children is a failure as a governor.