Ask Governor Murphy & DOE Commissioner to Waive SGO's for 2020-2021 School Year

Governor Murphy & DOE Commissioner

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The 2020-2021 school year has already been unlike any other. Yet, educators are still being expected to write, submit, and achieve their Student Growth Objectives (SGOs), as if it were just another academic year.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases have health officials mandating the quarantining of our students, our colleagues, and our schools, forcing educators to make unanticipated curricular shifts, with less than a day’s notice.

Many educators are left unable to plan, with any degree of certainty, one day to the next, wreaking havoc on instructional continuity and consistency. In such an erratic educational climate, how can SGOs be reasonably attained, within the Department of Education’s evaluative model?

TAKE ACTION, ECEA! Urge Acting Commissioner of Education Allen-Mcmillan and Governor Murphy to waive SGOs for the 2020-2021 school year!

Petition by

To: Governor Murphy & DOE Commissioner
From: [Your Name]

As one of nearly 20,000 members of the Essex County Education Association, I am urging Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillian to waive Student Growth Objectives (SGOs), for certificated public school employees, for 2020-2021.

Our school year is fraught with unpredictability. Upon a COVID-19 outbreak in our schools, within a moment’s notice, health officials can order a teacher, a student, a whole grade level, a school building, even an entire district, to quarantine. While these responsive actions are necessary for the health and safety of an educational community, such frequent and unpredictable shifts in learning platforms wreak havoc on an educator’s ability to achieve instructional continuity and consistency. The back-and-forth flipping of educational formats, virtual to in-person and back again, greatly impedes an educator’s ability to plan the arc of a unit lesson, let alone envision the scope and sequence of an entire school year.

If educators’ academic plans are repeatedly being thwarted by the impacts of COVID-19, how can educators be expected to estimate their students’ academic growth, with any professional certainty? And how can such unpredictability be negated, when it comes to educators’ evaluations?

Furthermore, even in a pre-COVID world, the existing digital divide among our students hindered a steady and equitable academic experience. But during this crisis, when virtual learning sporadically becomes the safer and necessitated option, such inequities are glaring and exponentially more problematic, for both the educator and the student. While an acknowledged condition, the inability to access the Internet continues to be an un-hurdled educational barricade for so many of our students and their families.

How can educators be expected to set and attain “specific and measurable” Student Growth Objectives, with any professional confidence, given these unpredictable and disparate learning environments? The answer is that they should not.

For these reasons, given this erratic educational climate, I am urging Governor Murphy and Acting Commissioner of Education Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillian to waive SGOs, for certificated public school employees, for the 2020-2021 school year.

Thank you,