Governor pledges resources to help meet students’ educational, social-emotional needs.

This afternoon, Gov. Murphy announced that New Jersey will submit a request to the USDOE to waive federal standardized testing requirements this spring. He also announced plans to distribute $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds to districts, “including grants dedicated specifically to research-based instructional and mental health interventions.”

NJEA President Marie Blistan joined Dr. Richard Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators and Patricia Wright, executive director of the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association in commending that decision:

“We are pleased that Gov. Murphy and Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan are standing up for New Jersey’s students and applying for a much-needed waiver from federally mandated standardized testing. In a year filled with challenges and disruptions, the last thing our students need is to lose a single minute of instructional time to take a test that would not yield valid and reliable data or support their learning. Educators look forward to using that reclaimed time to focus on meeting our students’ social, emotional and educational needs. We look forward to working with the NJDOE to gather the relevant, reliable data needed to help us target our efforts efficiently and effectively.

“We are also encouraged by Gov. Murphy’s pledge to direct significant new federal resources toward that critical work. We have all witnessed how this pandemic has disproportionately affected communities with the fewest resources. We know that its effects will be felt long after the immediate crisis has passed. By carefully assessing needs and equitably addressing them with meaningful investment, New Jersey will emerge stronger and better prepared for a bright post-pandemic future.”

Today’s announcement comes after nearly 10,000 NJEA members emailed the governor and acting commissioner to explain why testing would be invalid and harmful this year. The administration listened to that, as well as to an earlier joint statement calling for a testing waiver. NJEA will continue to monitor the waiver application to ensure that the needs of New Jersey students are put first by the US Department of Education.

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