ROSARIO: State Board of Education Must Open Books On Covid Learning Loss and Not Readopt Failed Equity Policies

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Peter T. Rosario is the President and CEO of La Casa de Don Pedro, Inc., which works to ensure that Greater Newark’s residents engage in and benefit from the region’s growth. Additional signatories are below.

This month, the State Board of Education voted to move forward with the readoption of NJ Administrative Code 6A:7 – Managing for Equality and Equity in Education. We believe that the readoption of this code in its current form will not provide an adequate roadmap to ensure equitable outcomes for all of New Jersey’s students.

As a collective of organizations who work day-to-day on education issues in our communities, we call on our State Board of Education to be courageous and bold enough to hold public hearings on this issue and not simply make it another checkbox exercise for local school districts to ignore.

As unimaginable as it may seem, March 16, 2023 marks the third anniversary of Governor Murphy’s executive order to shut down our schools and move to virtual instruction for all students. Little did we know at the time how much these necessary public health measures and subsequent emergency actions would reveal about the inequities for our low-income and BIPOC communities.

Two months later, on May 25, 2020, as many of our students and teachers were just getting accustomed to the new reality of virtual instruction, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers. In the following days, educators and parents were faced with the daunting task of helping our children process this horrific modern-day lynching!

As we fast-forward to today, our state still has not offered transparent data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the parallel reckoning of racial injustice for students of color and all students. The reality is that we all know the data is alarming for white and BIPOC students alike.

After all that our educators, parents and, most importantly, our children have endured the past three years, this is not the time for readoption of failed policies.

OPEN, TRANSPARENT, and DELIBERATIVE PUBLIC HEARINGS are the only way to proceed if we truly seek equity for all students in New Jersey.

Charles Payne, Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Rutgers Newark
Karen H. Jackson, East Orange Child Development Corporation
Grace Blanco, Ironbound Community Corporation
Margaret Morales, La Casa de Don Pedro, Inc.
Jesselly De La Cruz, Latino Action Network Foundation
Marcela I. Lenox, Morris County Organization of Hispanic Affairs
Larry Leverett, New Jersey Network of Superintendents
Robert Clark, Newark Opportunity Youth Network
Ronald Chaluisan, Newark Trust for Education
Tara Jones, Passaic Family Head Start
Shadura Lee, Salvation and Social Justice
SanDonna Jones, United Vailsburg Services Organization
Vivian Cox Fraser, Urban League of Essex County

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