Each school district in the State is required periodically to undergo a comprehensive review by the New Jersey Department of Education under the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC). Districts are reviewed on a staggered schedule; however, that schedule has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, Assembly Democrats took action to ensure that school districts and the Department of Education could focus their time and resources on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic by passing a measure, which was signed into law, to postpone certain NJQSAC reviews scheduled for the 2020-2021 school year.
To offer continued flexibility to high-performing school districts where the pandemic is still putting a strain on resources, Assembly Democrats Nicholas Chiaravalloti, Ralph Caputo and Pamela Lampitt sponsor a new measure to postpone certain comprehensive reviews in the 2021-2022 school year. The legislation unanimously passed the full Assembly on Monday.
The bill (A-6001) would postpone NJQSAC reviews scheduled for the 2021-2022 school year in districts that were designated as high-performing districts in their most recent review. Districts not designated as high-performing would still be reviewed in the 2021-2022 school year, but a district may postpone its review by one year if it notifies the Commissioner of Education that it is not able to complete its review due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Postponed reviews would be rescheduled for three years after the review was originally scheduled to take place.
Upon Assembly approval of the bill, Assembly sponsors Chiaravalloti (D-Hudson), Caputo (D-Essex) and Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington) released the following joint statement:
“We are proud in New Jersey to be counted among the best schools in the nation. We regularly evaluate our schools to ensure they are meeting rigorous standards for delivering high-quality education and keeping track of the progress in our districts. The COVID-19 pandemic has understandably complicated this process.
“Instead of filling out NJQSAC paperwork, we’d rather school districts focus on combating the challenges brought on by the pandemic such as preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools. The needs of our students should always come first.”
The legislation now heads to the Senate.