JACKSON – Township Officials noted Education Day with a proclamation during a recent council meeting that also featured a sharp critique of Governor Phil Murphy’s school curriculum mandates.
The governing body’s proclamation for Education Day is issued annually and notes not only the importance of education for all “but also focuses on building character by emphasizing the cultivation of universal moral and ethical values that have been the bedrock of society since the dawn of civilization,” Council President Martin Flemming said as he read the proclamation drafted by Jackson Mayor Michael Reina.
“I strongly urge that education be reenforced by the inclination of strong moral values,” Flemming stated in the proclamation. Education Day has been recognized for more than 40 years as Education and Sharing Day USA, the proclamation added.
Councilman Nino Borrelli said he read recently “New Jersey public schools will start this fall teaching sexual orientation education, transgenderism, transgender identity and abortion to boot, to kindergarteners, first and second graders.”
This isn’t true, according to the Department of Education. The new standards won’t be teaching sexual orientation in elementary school, contrary to what many believe, department officials said. However, “all individuals should feel welcome and included regardless of their gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation” by the end of fifth grade.
These standards were passed two years ago, and public comment was welcome back then. The changes will go into effect in September. Every district in New Jersey will have the choice to implement them how they see fit. They won’t be forced to follow the same curriculum.
“This is a very disturbing curriculum. Governor Murphy and his advocates in the state legislature that are mandating and so age inappropriate. It really is child abuse. Shame on you governor. Your special interest pushing this radical agenda and this state education bureaucracy,” the councilman said.
Councilman Borrelli added, “these topics should be left to parents not to teachers especially elementary school teachers and you wonder why parents are pulling their kids out of public schools and putting them into private school and home schooling them and why people are leaving our state in droves.”
“This council will continue to stand up for Jackson parents and the protection of parental rights. I urge your state legislators and Board (of Education) members do the same and I urge parents to voice their concerns in opposition at school board meetings to this very disturbing curriculum and to call the governor’s office at 609-292-6000 and flood Murphy’s phone line with your objections and the Senate Education Committee chairman to at 732-695-3371,” Borrelli said.
Democrats have stated that the curriculum is being used to provide a more inclusive education, and that Republicans are spreading disinformation about it.
Parents can still choose to take their children out of sex education – that fact hasn’t changed since 1980.
Councilman Steven Chisholm echoed his council colleague’s comments regarding “that disgraceful agenda of what they are trying to do to children and force that on them. I don’t want to go too far into the weeds with that but it is ironic that we just had a proclamation on education where we talk about the universal moral and ethical values and yet that is what is being hoisted upon our children. It is disgraceful.”
Council President Martin Flemming said, “I’d like to commend Councilman Borrelli and Councilman Chisholm for their fire about the governor’s decision to try and re-educate our children and I agree with them whole heartedly.”
Governor Phil Murphy said during his weekly ask the governor radio program that there was confusion and misinformation concerning the mandate and that he recently issued the State Department of Education to issue a statement clarifying what is involved.
Murphy stressed that parental input was essential to the process of adding the new curriculum and that he too had questions about how the subject matter would be addressed in the younger grade levels.
The governor said he felt some people were being critical of it for political reasons. He also reminded residents that there was an option for parents who feel the material was not age appropriate for their children, to opt out of it being taught to their children.
The 66-page standards that is being discussed is available here: state.nj.us/education/cccs/2020/2020%20NJSLS-CHPE.pdf
-Chris Lundy contributed to this story