Dear Acting Commissioner Allen-McMillan,
I am writing to you today to ask the New Jersey Department of Education to review the New Jersey 2020 Student Learning Standards and form a task force of parents and educators to counter the misinformation that is spreading. is widespread regarding this program. The task force should be comprised of both educators and parents of K-12 students to achieve a better understanding of state education goals and achieve better policy outcomes. .
My office has been contacted by many constituents concerned about the social and sexual health curriculum that may be taught in schools. Parents have contacted my office saying their children are too young to learn about sexual activity and reproductive health. Some believe that schools encourage students to question their gender identity or encourage the sexualization of young children. While these claims are often fueled by misinformation, I believe parents should be better included in determining the appropriate program to achieve the state’s desired diversity and inclusion goals.
I request that the program not be implemented for the 2022-2023 school year as planned, until further discussion of the program has taken place. As we emerge from the pandemic and get back to normal, we should give schools a chance to update students on their core curriculum rather than rush into implementing a policy that is unclear and against the wishes of many New Jersey parents.
To clarify social and sexual health guidelines, a working group of parents and educators should meet to create an understanding of what state standards require. Additionally, the task force should work to build consensus on what parents think should be included in the curriculum and the best way forward to improve diversity and inclusiveness in public education.
Additionally, the state has enacted guidelines for transgender students which are unclear and should be reviewed. The councils apparently allow any student, regardless of age or status, to come to the school office and change their name and gender expression immediately. The policy appears to allow countless name changes without requiring parents to be notified of such a significant change. This policy may place school administrators in the uncomfortable position of withholding information from parents in order to comply. The Ministry of Education should revise this policy in a further effort to ensure that parents are included in the decision-making process regarding the education and development of their children.
Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Paul D. Moriarty
Assemblyman, Fourth District
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