Senate Education Committee Advances Bills to Ensure Comprehensive Education for All Students

Trenton – On Monday. the Senate Education Committee advanced three bills sponsored by Senator Richard Codey which would ensure comprehensive education for students in all grade levels through various means.

“As time goes on, it is imperative that we make sure that our state’s education instruction is constantly evolving to fit the needs of all students,” said Senator Codey (D-Essex/Morris). “We must ensure that students are receiving education on important historical topics, such as 9/11, while also providing them with proper educational support and guidance when it is needed. My hope with these bills is to provide a more enriched education for all New Jersey students.”

The first bill, S-713, would require school districts to include age-appropriate instruction on the events of September 11, 2001 in the curriculum of elementary, middle, and high school students as part of the district’s implementation of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in Social Studies.

“The events that unfolded on September 11, 2001 remains one of this country’s darkest tragedies,” said Senator Codey. “We must make certain that schools are educating them on this tragedy so that they can understand what happened that day and how it has shaped our country today.”

A second bill, S-715, would establish the Commission on the Effects of Smart Phone and Social Media Usage on Adolescents. The purpose of the commission would be to study the extent of smart phone and social media usage in public schools, and to determine the effects it has on students’ physical and emotional health and academic performance. 

“In recent years, we have become more cognizant to the negative effects social media can play in each of our lives,” said Senator Codey. “By establishing this commission, we can better understand how this behavior affects their learning as well as the negative ramifications of social media use as a whole.”

The final bill, S-724, would direct the Commissioner of Education to establish a three-year pilot program that would provide students who are not reading at grade level by the end of the second grade in selected school districts with summer school instruction.

“According to the most recent National Achieve Education Proficiency assessment (2019), almost 58 percent of New Jersey fourth grade students are below a proficient reading level, and almost a third of students are below a basic reading level,” said Senator Codey. “Reading is the foundation for all learning, so when a student is reading below their grade level, it can greatly hinder their ability to learn. We must ensure that our students are equipped with the resources necessary to bring their reading up to speed so that they can excel in school.”

The bills were all voted out of committee by a vote of 5-0.