BLOOMFIELD – One of the persistent criticisms of New Jersey’s pandemic lockdown is that remote learning harmed students.
That premise is now getting some attention from Washington.
CD-11 Democrat Mikie Sherrill on Tuesday unveiled legislation to “address the significant learning loss caused by COVID-19-related disruptions to children’s education.”
Called the “Expanding Access to High Impact Tutoring Act,” the bill would allot as of now unspecified amounts of money to provide students in need with steady tutoring.
The bill has a Republican co-sponsor, which is critical with the GOP controlling the House. That’s Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who actually visited the district a year or so ago in support of state Assemblywoman Aura Dunn, proving that there really is a New Jersey connection to just about everything.
In a more serious vein, Sherrill said that after the pandemic,” Our kids are now in a place where many often need help.”
She said the bill would provide federal grants for “high dosage” tutoring. This was described as tutoring of at least 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week. Students would have the same tutor week to week and instruction would be geared to students’ classwork. The congresswoman said this follows the science of how best to help students in need.
The congresswoman unveiled the bill during an event at the local high school that included various education officials.
Sean Spiller, who is both the mayor of Montclair and president of the state teachers’ union, stressed that this is not a Democratic or Republican issue. He said, “it’s an issue that (says) we all care about our students.”
New Jersey’s public schools are always rated the best, or near the best, in the nation. So Sherrill surmised that if New Jersey students are struggling, what’s happening elsewhere? That’s why federal action is needed. she said.
In complete agreement was Sal Goncalves, the superintendent of schools.
“We really, really, really need your help,” he said to Sherrill.
The bill is expected to be introduced on Friday.
What happens next is unclear, although everyone on hand was optimistic.
As Sherrill said, hopefully, there is no time for “polarized bickering.”