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NJ postpones start of standardized testing amid pleas from educators: Education briefs
EDUCATION BRIEFS

NJ postpones start of standardized testing amid pleas from educators: Education briefs

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Principal Michael Nolan, and Wally greeting students during the first week of school at Hammonton Middle School Thursday Feb 4, 2021. The district was able to use a donation from the Hammonton Education Foundation to fund the purchase of Wally as a therapy dog for the students.

The Department of Education is postponing the start of standardized tests this spring after calls from educators and legislators to delay the assessments.

In a broadcast to school administrators Thursday, Assistant Commissioner of Education Lisa J. Gleason said the tests, a federal requirement, will not start before April 5.

“The New Jersey Department of Education recognizes that the disruption to education due to the COVID19 pandemic persists as schools and districts prepare for the spring 2021 assessment administration,” Gleason wrote. “While the United States Department of Education has not indicated that it will allow states to waive their statewide assessment obligations for the 2020-2021 school year, the NJDOE has heard requests from many stakeholders to explore all options regarding flexibilities prior to administering the statewide assessment systems.”

The postponement applies to the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments in English, math and science; the Dynamic Learning Maps year-end assessments; the ACCESS for ELLs English language proficiency assessment; and the Alternate ACCESS for ELLs.

Earlier this month, the Education Law Center sent a letter urging Gov. Phil Murphy to apply for a waiver from federal standardized testing mandates and suspend the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments this spring, and the New Jersey Education Association asked members to write to Murphy and Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan.

Murphy administration officials previously said they were assessing options for testing while awaiting more clarity from the Biden administration on waivers on the testing mandate under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law that replaced No Child Left Behind under President Barack Obama.

The Biden administration has not said whether testing would go forward this spring.

First lady promises tuition-free community college at virtual summit

Nearly 100 New Jersey community college leaders and students attended the annual National Legislative Summit hosted this month by the Association of Community College Trustees and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Attendees of the virtual summit heard from first lady Jill Biden, who spoke about free access to community college degrees as an important element of the Biden administration’s post-pandemic economic plan.

“We have to get this done. And we have to do it now. That’s why we’re going to make sure that everyone has access to free community college and training programs,” said Biden, who teaches at a community college, in a recorded message.

U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-11th, discussed the importance of New Jersey community colleges providing pathways to education for residents.

In 2019, New Jersey implemented the Community College Opportunity Grant program to make community college education tuition-free for people meeting certain income limits — currently for those living in households earning $65,000 in adjusted gross income or less — and other credit requirements.

N.J. expanded child care assistance programs HELP thousands during pandemic

New Jersey’s Department of Human Services approved 5,100 applications for child care tuition assistance this fall and winter under expanded eligibility guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state officials said.

The COVID-19 school-age tuition assistance program is for children ages 5 to 13 in child care due to remote learning. It was created by the Murphy administration in August as part of a $250 million initiative to support working families and child care.

The initial income eligibility limit was $75,000, but that was expanded to $150,000 in October.

The state received 7,100 applications for assistance and approved all eligible applicants.

Last month, the Department of Human Services announced the program, along with another supporting child care centers, would be extended to the end of February.

A spokesman for the Health Department said the number of children receiving the state child care subsidy for the school day has fluctuated as schools shifted their in-person and hybrid schedules. In December, about 9,000 school-age children received a subsidy for full-time care.

Contact Claire Lowe:

609-272-7251

clowe@pressofac.com

Twitter @clairelowe

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Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. I joined The Press in 2015. In 2013, I was awarded a NJPA award for feature writing as a reporter for The Current of Hamilton Township.

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