Trenton – Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz introduced legislation to create the New Jersey Community Learning Program to support the provision of comprehensive extended learning time programs in areas most impacted by the criminalization of cannabis. The programs would be funded by revenue collected from the sale of recreational cannabis.
“The criminalization of cannabis has had a severe, generational impact on the well-being of Black and Brown communities around the state. It is only right that the revenue generated from legalization should be funneled back into those very neighborhoods that were disenfranchised by marijuana prohibition and its discriminatory enforcement,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “A solid education is the greatest equalizer we have and the best avenue we have to ensure a more equitable future for the children of New Jersey. By confronting the disparities within our education system we can invest in meaningful programming to address them and begin to shrink the achievement gap plaguing our state.”
Under the bill, S-3213, every school district located within an impact zone would be required to establish and implement an extended learning time school community program. These programs would endeavor to close the achievement gap by providing services for enrolled students during non-school hours, including before and after school, on weekends, and during summer and holiday breaks.