By Tom Wiedmann at Tap into Newark

Area politicians and education advocates are now discussing ways to improve student proficiency in English Language Arts and math after a recent study of New Jersey schools found significant drops during the COVID-19 pandemic.

JerseyCAN, a nonprofit focused on advocating for high-quality schools for all New Jersey students, released the first statewide study, “A Time to Act: COVID-19 Academic Slide in New Jersey,” to quantify learning loss for students during the 2020-21 school year. Compared to 2019 statewide proficiency numbers for students in grades 3 to 8, there is a projected 24 percentile point drop in ELA proficiency and a 23 percentile point drop in math proficiency.

Upon release of the report’s findings, state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz on Tuesday joined Urban League of Essex County President Vivian Cox-Fraser and JerseyCAN Executive Director Patricia Morgan to discuss what can be done to close the learning gap.

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