New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

DOE’s Absence from Senate Education Hearing Illustrates Need for Select Oversite Committee, Pennacchio Says

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Subpoena Power is Only Way to Get Pandemic Answers from Administration

When the Department of Education failed to appear at Thursday’s Senate Education Committee hearing on the pandemic’s impact on schools and students, Senator Joe Pennacchio said he was disappointed but not surprised.

The Department of Education’s snub of a Senate committee hearing on COVID’s impact on schools and students prompted Sen. Joe Pennacchio to renew calls for a Senate Select Committee investigation of the Administration’s handling of the pandemic. (Pixabay)

“After what we have seen from the Administration for the past two years, I think any of us could have predicted the DOE would stiff the legislators who are trying to do the jobs they were elected to do,” said Pennacchio (R-26).

“In the busiest week of the legislative session, there was a bipartisan Senate committee dedicating a day to review the impact of COVID on our schools and students, and the bureaucrats in education stood them up,” Pennacchio continued. “The Administration in Trenton has shown little to no respect to legislators of either party, and this is just the latest example of the lack of regard they have for State Government and our Constitution.”

The hearing included testimony from school principals, education advocates, the business community, and representatives from teachers’ unions, according to a published report.

“The Department of Ed should have been there,” Pennacchio said, “but it is obvious that nobody from the Administration is going to show up without a subpoena.”

Senate committee members expressed anger about the education department’s absence, and referred to the impact on test scores as “heartbreaking,” according to newspaper accounts.

“Maybe now Democrats in the Legislature will realize that if they want answers and they want solutions, the only way we’re going to get them is with an oversite committee with the power to compel witnesses,” noted Pennacchio. “The Senate Republicans have calling for a special committee to investigate the Murphy Administration’s handling of the pandemic since May 2020.

“Working together in a bipartisan fashion, we can get to the bottom of troubling issues including not only the schools and education, but the management of the virus in our nursing homes, and the impact of COVID policies on business and the workforce.”

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