Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 214 on Jan. 11, which waives the graduation test requirement for any 12th grade student who has satisfied all other statutory graduation requirements.
The order applies only to the 2020-2021 academic year and does not address standardized achievement tests typically administered in the spring. The governor has not said whether he will ask the federal government to waive the requirement to administer those tests, and the incoming Biden administration has not made it clear whether those tests will be required. They were waived last year.
For now, degrees will be rewarded without requiring seniors to pass the graduation test. The governor’s executive order also provides for:
- Removal of Student Growth Objectives (SGOs) as a component of formal educator evaluations.
- Extension of the time in which certificated teachers or those in the process of becoming certificated teachers can serve as substitute teachers.
“The pandemic has presented significant challenges to school districts across our State that have affected our administrators, educators, staff, and students,” said Murphy. “(The) executive order will provide sensible adjustments to support our school districts during this unprecedented time.”
Remove SGOs from Teacher Evaluations SGOs are measurable and specific academic goals for groups of students set by educators in consultation with their supervisors. In light of the pandemic, Executive Order No. 214 will remove SGOs as a component of formal educator evaluations for the 2020-2021 school year. As a result, all educators will be evaluated solely on observations conducted by supervisors, principals, or other school leaders. SGOs may still be utilized for other purposes, such as professional development.
Extend Service Time Limitations for Certain Substitutes During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Executive Order No. 214 will help districts manage the increase in temporary and permanent teacher vacancies by allowing those in the process of becoming certificated teachers to fill teaching vacancies for a maximum of 60 school days instead of 20 school days. Fully certificated teachers who are currently employed as substitutes in an area outside of their credentials to fill teaching vacancies for a maximum of 60 school days instead of 40 school days.