TRENTON, N.J. – During an Assembly budget hearing on Monday, Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz and Assemblyman Brian Rumpf pressed acting education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan on the administration’s spending and lesson plans to address students’ two-year learning loss. Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has largely failed to dedicate funding to learning loss or develop a statewide plan, leaving many schools unprepared to grapple with education gaps and mental health issues.
Munoz, citing a state assessment administered last fall revealing just one in 10 Trenton students reached the state’s proficiency standards, described the critical need to help students recover from government-related shutdowns that closed schools.
“Why aren’t we addressing learning loss more clearly in the budget and can you tell us what you think the costs would be to address this learning loss? Because in reality these kids are two years behind. Why don’t we have transparency on how we plan to address learning loss?” Munoz asks Allen-McMillan.
The schools losing state aid under Murphy’s budget also need to address the consequences of the pandemic, argued Rumpf. Despite direct education funding increasing $650 million to $9.8 billion, nearly a third of school districts statewide have been deemed unworthy of support. Schools in Rumpf’s legislative district are among the 182 New Jersey school districts losing nearly $186 million in state aid in accordance with the funding formula.
“Our schools have had to make do with remote learning for the better part of the last 17 months, not because of any decision they made, but because of the mandates imposed by this administration. How can schools correct learning loss caused by government officials when they have so little resources? The school districts I represent are considered by Governor Murphy to be apparently unworthy of the funding needed to address learning loss and student mental health,” Rumpf said.