(TRENTON) Legislation sponsored by Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Somerset) and Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex) that requires school districts to weigh visual and performing arts courses just as other subjects are treated was approved by the Assembly Education Committee today. The legislation treats these courses with the same level of importance in determining a student’s grade point average (GPA) and class rank.
“This legislation creates parity between the arts and other classes,” said Bramnick, R- Union, Morris and Somerset. “No longer will artists be treated as second class citizens. Each subject in a school’s curriculum is important, including performing and visual arts. This bill brings a uniform standard to education that weighs these courses fairly for students.”
“This is about fairness,” said Diegnan, who chairs the committee. “Weighing these courses differently sends the wrong message to students who excel in the arts and puts them at a disadvantage when applying for college. A student who plans to study visual and performing arts in college should have the courses he or she took in this field considered when tallying his or her grade point average, which would be a better representation of the student’s academic capabilities and achievements.”
“The arbitrary and unequal grade weighting between similar courses creates an artificial barrier to students who have a desire to participate in the arts. When a school district applies unequal weighting for equal courses students are forced to choose between their passion and their grade point average and class rank. This is not only unfair… but it flies in the face of our own educational expectations. This bill sets out to right this wrong,” stated Robert Morrison, Governance Chair of the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership The bill A-311, received the committee’s unanimous support. A companion bill has been introduced in the Senate by Education Committee Chair Teresa Ruiz.
Link: A-311 http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A0500/311_I1.PDF
Link: S-2426 http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/S2500/2426_I1.PDF
A311 Morrison Testimony