The 2020 New Jersey Learning Standards are currently scheduled to be implemented in September, 2022. However, the standards, especially in the area of Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, are very concerning to many parents. Even Governor Murphy has acknowledged the concerns being expressed by New Jersey parents.
Right now, parents are reaching out to the State Board of Education with their thoughts on what their children should learn in this critical subject in New Jersey public schools.
In light of this, we want to make you aware that this is happening and encourage you, if you wish, to weigh in with an email to the state school board by Wednesday, May 4.
With so much discussion over what children should be learning in public schools, it is vital that parents’ voices be heard. To ensure that every parent has a chance to be heard, we suggest urging the state school board to delay the implementation of the standards for another six months for public and parent review and input.
Please consider emailing the state school board at firstname.lastname@example.org with a message such as the following. We encourage you to put it into your own words, so it comes from your heart:
Dear State School Board Member,
I am writing to urge you to delay implementation of the 2020 New Jersey Learning Standards, especially the Comprehensive Health and Physical Education standards, to review and amend the standards based on further public and parent review and input.
Even Governor Murphy has acknowledged the high level of concern. This must be addressed, and the material and mandates removed or mitigated to protect children, and to ensure that the views of families from across the political, religious, and cultural spectrums are respected.
Acting Commissioner of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan tried to explain that “the NJ [Department of Education] does not review, approve, or actively endorse instructional materials,” but this does not match the reality that the DOE website includes links to divisive curriculum materials, and that local schools are telling parents the curriculum choice is out of their control—that they have to teach the materials provided by the NJDOE.
During the June 2020 State School Board vote, four State School Board Members voted against the material in Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, stating that it was not appropriate. It only passed based on assurances that parents could opt their children out of objectionable content, or content that is not age appropriate. But such parental opt-out is not currently guaranteed.
Transparency AND parental notification and consent must be required. Respecting family values and parental rights is paramount.
Please respect the vital role of New Jersey parents in their children’s education by postponing the implementation date, gathering parental input, and amending the standards to honor the voices of all New Jersey parents.
Thank you for taking the time to make your voice heard. Together as concerned parents, we can make the schools better for our children.
NJ State Coordinator for ParentalRights.org