JerseyCAN, a nonprofit advocating for high quality schools for all New Jersey students, released today a framework for state actions to accelerate student learning through and beyond pandemic recovery. A Time to Act: A Framework to Accelerate Learning identifies five major elements that comprise the framework for action:
Student and Family Engagement
High Quality, Inclusive Curriculum, Instruction and Training
Effective Resource Allocation for Equitable Systems
Educator Support and Innovative Staffing
Data for Understanding Student Learning
The specific policy recommendations are derived from successful strategies from across the country and tailored to fit New Jersey’s educational landscape. These policy solutions can help guide state and local leaders in addressing the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on education and especially on low income students and students of color. The full report can be found here.
JerseyCAN’s first report in this series projected staggering learning loss for New Jersey students – especially our low-income, Black and Latinx students. The projections found that in the wake of COVID, only one-third of New Jersey students are projected to be academically proficient in English language arts and less than one-fourth are projected to be proficient in math.
“We know that COVID is having a significant impact on student learning; now it’s time to decide what can be done to help our students, teachers and schools accelerate learning. The education community now has new resources from federal stimulus funding, and this report offers policy solutions and a path forward,” explained Janellen Duffy, Senior Advisor to JerseyCAN.
The framework report recommends the following most time-sensitive actions to support students and educators:
Governor Murphy and his team should create an interagency COVID education-focused government commission in upcoming months and a stakeholder task force to guide a collaborative statewide education recovery plan.
The Legislature should complete action on legislation to address learning pods or hubs, a grade retention option and teacher residencies, and move quickly to adopt legislation on pilot programs described in the report. We applaud the leadership demonstrated by both the Senate Education Committee Chair Ruiz and Assembly Education Chair Lampitt and urge the Legislature to complete these bills and send to the Governor for his signature.
The New Jersey Department of Education should quickly adopt robust guidance and trainings on the strategies that the state has already identified and incentivized with the most recent learning loss grants – such as high dosage tutoring and more intensive summer programming – as well as emerging best practices to support students’ social and emotional well-being and mental health.
District and school leaders should continue to focus on intensive summer programming and robust plans for fall 2021 with the use of high-quality, inclusive curriculum and interventions.
Parents and families should continue to seek out information and data on their children’s social-emotional wellbeing and academic growth as well as available resources to support learning at home and engage in creating personalized learning plans for their students.
Philanthropists and funders should support and facilitate trainings for districts and schools by national and state experts who can provide detailed guidance on the effective use of federal stimulus funds.
“We have an unprecedented influx of federal funding coming to New Jersey to support our educational recovery,” remarked Jamilah Muhammad, CEO of Parent Impact. “This framework provides concrete actions backed by research that our state and local leaders can start planning now to ensure we allocate this funding with a laser focus on equity as well as outcomes.”
In the coming weeks, JerseyCAN will build upon our A Time to Act framework by sharing case study examples of New Jersey schools and districts who exemplify these efforts and developing additional policy recommendations for the long-term pandemic recovery.
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