This past Monday, May 9, Senator Vin Gopal (D-Freehold) introduced his “Transparency in Health and Physical Education” bill in the Senate Education Committee. He is the chairman of this committee and therefore oversees the bills that are allowed to be publicly heard and debated. Our team was there to speak in favor of transparency in education, but we, along with many parents and other parental rights organizations, had to oppose this specific bill.
Because parents rose up and once again expressed their objection to the new sex-ed learning standards that will go into effect this upcoming school year, Senator Gopal said, according to the media, that he would support transparency in education for ALL subjects. Sadly, at his first opportunity to introduce a bill that would mandate school districts post ALL curriculum, lessons, and learning materials online, was limited to just Health Class.
This is troubling because lessons that promote transgenderism to young children can legally be taught in NJ public schools in multiple subjects starting in kindergarten. Schools are not obligated to teach lessons regarding gender identity outside of health class, but they are able to do so if the local school board wants to.
Our team recommended the Senate Education Committee support a bill that was first introduced in June 2021 and reintroduced in the new legislative session in February 2022. This bill is sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho (R-Sparta) and Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Montville). It requires schools to post on their website ALL curriculum and learning materials 30 days before the school year begins. Senator Gopal committed to reaching out to the bill sponsors to discuss this bill. He explained the reason he decided to initially only support “Health Class” transparency was not to confuse parents on what classes they can opt out of.
Despite his reasoning, why could he not allow two Transparency in Education bills to be discussed in the same Senate Education Committee hearing? The first bill could be limited to health class with opt-out language, with the second bill for ALL other subjects. The reason might be the testimony of the NJ Education Association (NJEA) in their support of his transparency in “Health Class” bill. They thanked him for working with them in drafting the bill language. In other words, the NJEA – not parents – had the final say on what type of transparency there would be!
Finally, another very troublesome component of Senator Gopal’s bill is the fact that parents would be given an opportunity to express their concerns and objections over sex-ed lessons after local school boards approve them. Parents would essentially be left out of the developmental process of these lessons. We are not surprised because they were left out of the developmental process in drafting the bill language.
While we certainly have major concerns about the end product of Sen. Gopal’s bill, we are extremely thankful that Senator Gopal is leading a bipartisan effort to rebuild trust in NJ public schools. He was very kind and respectful to the parents who passionately shared their concerns. This was refreshing for a change! We look forward to working with him on future legislation. Senator Gopal gives us a new hope in finding a resolution for families.
Download our free resource “Diversity or Deception” to learn the difference between the Sex Ed Learning Standards and the Diversity and Inclusion law. Get the facts and learn how these separate curriculum issues found their way into your child’s classroom.
Fighting for your families here in the Garden State!