NJBIA testified today in support of a bill to assess the impact of COVID-19 on student attendance and learning, including the delivery of services to students with disabilities and the “digital divide” in school districts where some students lack home electronics or internet needed to fully access remote learning.
“Our current and future workforce depends on schools being able to navigate these difficult times,” NJBIA Vice President of Government Affairs Christopher Emigholz told the Senate Education Committee on Monday. “Our business community needs an efficient and effective K-12 system, and the data generated by this bill will improve accountability and transparency to help us get there.”
The legislation, S-3214, sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29), is designed to provide a baseline of information needed by state policymakers to craft the programs needed to accelerate student learning after nearly a year of classroom learning disruptions. The first step in the process is collecting the data from school districts and having the State Department of Education prepare a learning loss report.
“The current and future workforce of our state needs the same skills and preparation regardless of the challenges we are facing,” Emigholz said “Many educators and schools are doing admirable jobs working harder than ever to provide our students a quality education, but some might not be, and we need to know more about that.”
The committee voted 5-1 to release the bill and advance it to the full Senate, but Ruiz hoped the bill would not be necessary if New Jersey Department of Education officials announced they were pursuing similar accountability measures.