Assemblyman Holley Calls for Immediate Funding to Support Child Care and Tutoring for New Jersey Families
When the pandemic rocked New Jersey in mid-March and sent home 1.4 million school children for the rest of the 2019-20 school year, parents were scrambling to provide at-home care and academic instruction as the economy collapsed.
With today’s word from Gov. Phil Murphy that the state’s school districts will be allowed to provide remote learning, once again, parents are facing the same dilemma: To stay home with their children or go to work.
Assemblyman Jamel Holley (D-20thDist.) said New Jersey families can not afford any more at-home learning. That is why he is introducing legislation this afternoon that would give working families grants for tutoring and child care, funded through the federal CARES Act. And if the federal money falls short, Holley is proposing state tax credits in 2021 to make up the difference.
“Families are crying out for help; the governor’s unilateral decision spells disaster for people who need to return to work,” Holley said. “There needs to be financial support that can provide children with quality care and tutoring assistance, serving as a safety net.”
Once the public schools closed in mid-March, Holley said, New Jersey families met an immediate crisis on two fronts. Parents needed to stay at home to care for their children. Meanwhile, as school districts scrambled to develop virtual curricula, many children fell through the cracks, unable to learn via remote learning.
“That third-grade student who abruptly was forced into remote learning in March did not learn what he needed to learn in third grade,” Holley said. “Now, it is the fall, and that student is beginning fourth grade. If he couldn’t learn remotely as a third grader, how is he going to suddenly learn fourth grade material? That is why our families our desperate for tutorial services. Our kids need to catch up. Keeping them home, without supports, is heartless.”
Holley said he is now building support amongst members of the Assembly and Senate, in the hopes his bill can be fast-tracked to Murphy’s desk for signature, as school is set to open in three weeks in most towns.
“I don’t understand why the administration is changing policies and procedures at the last moment, as school districts are trying to plan for the fall,” Holley said. “The state Legislature needs to intervene, ensuring our families have a fighting chance for succeed.”