New Jersey Senators Shirley Turner (D-Mercer) and Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) have introduced a bill that would allow parents/guardians to request that their child repeat the 2020-2021 school year.
From the text of Senate BIll 3470
Notwithstanding section 1 of P.L.1985, c.408 (C.18A:35-4.9) or any other law or regulation to the contrary, for the 2021-2022 school year, a school district shall permit a general education student enrolled in any of the grades kindergarten through 12 during the 2020-2021 school year to repeat the same grade level in which the student was enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year, provided that the parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the student submits a written request of grade retention to the superintendent of the school district, in accordance with subsection b. of this section, on or before June 1, 2021. A superintendent may approve or deny a written request of grade retention submitted by the parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of the general education student after June 1, 2021 at the superintendent’s discretion… A request of grade retention by a parent, guardian, or other person having legal custody of a general education student based solely on concerns surrounding learning loss during the 2020-2021 school year shall be sufficient grounds for retaining a child during the 2021-2022 school year.
Translation: If parents are worried that their kid has suffered learning loss due to pandemic-induced school closures and subsequent remote instruction, they can ask the district superintendent to hold their child back a year. The bill also says the state Department of Education should help fund the cost of educating children for an additional year, using funds from the federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.”
The bill is supported by Senate President Steve Sweeney, who told Politico in October, “I actually think we should allow parents if they think it’s necessary to let kids stay back a year.”