TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Brandon Umba’s continued call to address Covid-19 learning loss with more tutoring gained support in the Assembly Education Committee on Thursday. His bill requiring the state Education Department to create a registry of individuals and organizations offering free tutoring services was passed unanimously.
“Finally, children and their education needs are getting the collective attention they deserve. Students shouldn’t have to struggle with learning loss after suffering from the draconian school Covid closures and forced remote learning. We need a statewide plan to get them back on track and today we took a small step toward that goal,” Umba (R-Burlington) said.
Under the bill (A4458), all New Jersey residents would be able to access a database on the Department of Education’s website with the name, contact information, subject matter expertise and tutoring availability of registrants. Tutors, including current and retired teachers, college students and other qualified professionals, would not be permitted to charge a fee for services provided in connection with the registry.
“Kids who just started school when Covid-19 hit are now in the third grade and just finally experiencing school as they should – in-person. New Jersey students are grade levels behind because of digital divides, isolation, and policies that prioritized politics over everything else. It is time we put kids first,” Umba said.
According to the 2022 scores from National Assessment of Educational Progress, also referred to as the Nation’s Report Card, New Jersey students experienced greater learning loss than the national average. Those in fourth and eighth grade had significantly worse scores in math and reading compared to when the test was last administered in 2019.
Umba also sponsors a bill (A4843) establishing a matching grant program in the Department of Education that would allow school districts to implement in-school high-impact tutoring programs to address Covid-19 learning loss. High-impact tutoring is one-to-one or small-group support that supplements classroom learning and focuses on specific goals in response to individual students’ needs.