On Wednesday Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that will allow parents of kids in kindergarten through eighth grade to request that their child repeat a grade level due to learning loss during the pandemic. The request can only be made for the 2021-2022 school year.
The law comes on the heels of many parents saying their children did not adapt well to remote learning, which for many school districts, began in March 2020. The significant challenges that many children were presented with caused parents to seek a redo for what many feel was a lost year-and-a-half of schooling.
“Although the increased use of virtual or remote instruction has been necessary in order to limit the transmission of COVID-19, research has shown that the use of such instruction may lead to a gap in learning gains that students may have otherwise experienced had they been learning through in-person instruction,” says the introduction to the law.
“Parents are placed in a unique position to observe the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on their children’s educational progress,” the legislation continues. “Given the new role that parents have taken on in their children’s education during this unprecedented time, it is fitting that parents have an increased say in certain educational decisions, including decisions concerning grade retention.”
The law is sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (D-Bergen, Passaic), Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson) and Sens. Shirley Turner (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) and Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex).
Parents seeking that their child repeats a grade level are instructed to submit a request in writing to their school’s principal. From there, the request must be approved by the superintendent.
Earlier this week, new guidance was released to help with schools’ reopening plans.
The NJ Department of Education will also hold assessments this fall to determine the level of learning loss in children throughout the state.