EDITOR'S NOTE: While this list is extensive, it is not complete and will continue to be updated. Know of any legislation that's not on this list? Let us know here.
- In addition to the New Jersey Legislature beginning its session on Jan. 2, six laws dealing with school bus safety went into effect in 2019. The laws raise the bar on safety standards and work to increase transparency.
- Gov. Phil Murphy also signed a handful of other education bills into law in January, including a measure that mandates financial literacy instruction in school districts beginning in the 2019-20 school year. And on Jan. 8, he passed a law that doubles the amount of state security funding for nonpublic schools, increasing it from $75 to $150 per student.
- As for the 2019 session, increasing teachers’ pay will likely come before New Jersey lawmakers, and the state teachers union is also lobbying the legislature in support of a bill that would lower the amount that most of its members pay toward their health insurance.
- Citing an incident in which a high school wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks to compete, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Passaic, said high school coaches and athletic directors need mandatory sensitivity training. His bill also proposes that the training address potential bias and focus on gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disabilities, religious tolerance, and diversity and inclusion. Additionally, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, D-Middlesex, filed legislation that would establish an anti-bullying task force charged with examining current state policy.
- Meanwhile, as the state deals with a lawsuit that alleges segregation in its public schools, the plaintiffs and civil rights advocates are calling on officials to take steps they say will help to spur change, such as magnet schools and inter-district transfers.
- Lastly, a state appellate court in December struck down a requirement for high school students to pass the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exam to graduate. That decision left thousands of high school seniors in limbo, leading to legislators saying they’d look for ways to bring back PARCC as a requirement.