Our nation is polarized because policy has become a zero-sum game. It is all or nothing. No compromise. No consideration. No regard for the views of others. No resolution for disagreements. Politics, by nature, is a winner-take-all sport, but the work of policy is the hard work of discussion, amendments, and solutions.
Unfortunately, in New Jersey, public education mandates signed into law by Governor Murphy or implemented by his Department of Education have shown no respect for the constitutional rights of parents to raise their children to morally reflect their values and religious beliefs.
Instead, a new sexual orthodoxy is being imposed upon children in public schools — one which is endorsed and promoted by the state, and conflicts with the fundamental religious convictions of countless families. These mandated lessons do not reflect the diverse student body within public schools consisting of Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and other religious faiths with traditional moral beliefs. Therefore, the public school system is no longer inclusive to people of faith, which is all we ask for – see our previous email.
That’s why we support Senate Bill 3002 and Assembly Bill 3000. If these bills became law, parents would finally have an alternative if the local public school would not allow them to opt their child out of lessons that violated their fundamental beliefs. The alternative? A scholarship worth up to 75% of the cost of the student’s attendance at the local public school.
This week, we launched JerseyVotesYes.com to support school choice legislation such as S3002/A3000 and highlight the controversial curriculum problems in New Jersey government schools. Yes, I intentionally use the words ‘government schools’ because the state is infringing upon local community-based school boards.
This new webpage offers numerous resources including:
- A video clearly explaining the lessons and learning standards that the majority of families object to.
- Downloadable resources to learn more about S3002/A3000 and what your parental rights are.
- Two separate action steps you can take:
- Complete a form to print out a pre-addressed letter and send it to your three state legislators and Governor Murphy. Please take this very seriously! We need you to print out the letters and send them ASAP. Filling out the form is helpful but printing out the letters the system generates for you, putting a stamp on them, and placing them in the mail is much more effective!
- Call the Education Committee members and urge them to hear these bills in future committee hearings.
Please visit www.JerseyVotesYes.com to take advantage of these resources. Please also share the site with others to help educate them on what is happening in New Jersey public schools.
Protecting your family,
It’s the whirlwind of the last week of the regular session. This is the week where bills are repackaged and brought before the legislators to vote up or down. There are several topics that I want to highlight for you today!
Your legislators need to hear from you again on the following:
- Educational Freedom – An educational freedom bill was passed through the House last week. It has been tightened and repackaged in S.B. 175. It should be headed to the floor soon! Contact your legislators today and let them know to support this bill. It’s easy on our action page.
- Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is still alive, but we need your help to get it over the line. This is a winning issue – which is why the Left is attacking it so hard. Women should have every opportunity. This is not an area we can cave to those who do not have women’s best interest at heart. We have the momentum! Reach out to your legislators on our action page today! Let’s score a victory for girls in Kansas.
- Election Integrity – The Senate debated and passed H.B. 2183 last week which will add protections to our election process to ensure the integrity our voting process moving forward. These are common sense measures to ensure that there aren’t loopholes for bad actors to exploit. You can find your legislators on our action page.
We are so close to the end of session. There are a lot of moving parts at this point in the session. We are so thankful for your partnership as we work to protect your family values in Kansas. It’s been a very successful session so far, but there is still a lot of work to be done before we get to the finish line.
Running with endurance,
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
As I rode home from the Capitol last night after the Georgia General Assembly adjourned for the year, it was impossible not to think of how far we have come. Two thoughts consistently come to me:
- Our organization has, no doubt, become the preeminent force for our values in Georgia. We’re engaging on more issues, leading and innovating, finding ways to win, and providing a force for good under the Gold Dome, but…
- We still have much work to do to rise to the challenges facing our state.
In many ways, this was a highly productive legislative session. After leading the charge for 4 years, Georgia has finally passed a “Tebow Bill” – named this year “The Dexter Mosely Act” – allowing homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities at their local public school. More on this is a later email, but I believe this has a profound effect on educational freedom in Georgia.
Additionally, we led the way for Gracie’s Law – which bans organ transplant discrimination against those with physical and mental disabilities – and Simon’s Law (another four-year fight) – which requires a doctor to get parental consent before placing a DNR on a minor child.
We were proud to advocate for the passage of the Special Needs Scholarship (SB 47), Election Reform (SB 202), increasing the punishment for “revenge porn” (SB 78), supporting several bills aimed at ending human trafficking and protecting children from predators, and more – all of these great bills likely to become law this year.
Moreover, our Anti-Obscenity bill, Right to Visit legislation, Save Girls Sports, protections for religious freedom, and more all made progress and will resume where they left off next year.
My friends, your support for this organization has allowed us to make HUGE gains.
Yet, there is still much work to be done and there was much disappointment as the General Assembly gaveled out. That said, I’m choosing not to view these as losses – but instead “future opportunities” to strengthen our state. Legislatively, here is where I see the Lord leading us:
- Pushing back against the education and hospital lobby to ensure more educational and medical freedom for individuals and more rights for parents
- Greater protections for religious freedom
- Defending children from obscene materials in schools and from reckless medical procedures and chemicals that seek to do the impossible, “change their gender”
- Standing our ground against cancel culture bullies – like Delta, Big Tech, and the media – that aim to silence Georgia conservatives while profiting from lucrative tax breaks
- Limiting the power of the government
- Saving Girls Sports and unashamedly proclaiming truth
- Advocating for innocent human life and, ultimately, ending abortion everywhere
This journey continues next legislative session, but, now isn’t the “offseason.” Here’s just some what needs to be done in the meantime:
- Launching a Church Leader Network to equip the church to be as zealous for our faith in the public square as the Left is for theirs
- Developing engaged biblical citizens through our Biblical Citizenship Academy (click here to sign up for the Cartersville BCA on May 8)
- Purchasing software and engaging the grassroots so that we have an “army” of networked believers capable of counter-balancing the powerful education, hospital, and Chamber of Commerce lobbies
- Revamping our brand, strengthening and growing our team, and bolstering our programs (BIG news coming soon…)
- Launching research efforts, talking points, and bill writing efforts for next session
- Recruiting candidates and identifying election targets so that our state can shift in a more God-honoring direction
- Raising the funds need to combat the radical Left. Our goal is to INCREASE our annual revenue by 25% in the coming year alone! (If you’d like to help us with our growing budget, please consider donating HERE.)
We’re showing what can happen when a mission-minded, professional, strategic, and resourced organization leads the charge for our values. The results we’ve produced are transforming our state, and I’m proud to see how we’re leading the way!
But, the forces against us are strong. We are in spiritual warfare. The well-financed lobbies for hospitals, education, and international corporations are against us. The media and Big Tech are against us. Cancel culture is real. And, many who claim to be conservatives can waiver or become corrupted – making victories that should be easy either difficult or impossible.
I’m committed to having this organization be the change agent for Georgia.
Over the coming months, as alluded to, we’ll be making some big announcements and changes. Every decision we’re making is aimed specifically to strengthen our footing so that we can build on these wins yet rise to meet “future opportunities.”
Thank you for all your support in helping us reach this place! So grateful for your partnership in this battle!
For His Glory,
President and Executive Director
Over the past two years, the New Jersey legislature has passed controversial laws mandating that public schools teach lessons which violate or conflict with the beliefs of many families regarding sex, sexuality, and gender identity.
These laws violate the fundamental and constitutional rights of parents to direct the moral and educational upbringing of their children. Public school lessons should be neutral in their presentation of religious beliefs, worldview, and political ideology. Yet, not only do these laws force a certain viewpoint on children, but they were written with no opt-out or other protection for families who have religious and moral objections to the content.
The government should not be able to force someone to go against their religious beliefs, yet this is exactly what is happening through these mandates.
Some examples of this troubling trend in New Jersey include the following:
- March 1, 2021 – Assembly bill 4454 was signed into law. Starting in the 2021-2022 school year, public schools are required to teach transgender identity and sexual orientation diversity lessons starting in kindergarten. Schools will now be required to teach a harmful and subjective view of sexual beliefs to 5-year-old children.
- June 3, 2020 – New Jersey Department of Education adopted new learning standards for Health Class. Part of these revised standards for 8th grade include 2.1.8.SSH.9: Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Schools will now be required to teach 13-year-old students explicit sexual acts.
- January 31, 2019 – Senate bill 1569 was signed into law. Public schools are now required to teach inclusive LGBT-themed lessons in multiple subjects in middle and high school. Lesson plans developed for pilot programs far exceed the historical “contributions” mandated by the law – these include the following for 8th graders:
- “Dismantling and confronting the patriarchy, hyper-masculinity and homophobia”
- Considering Intersectionality
- Using transgender pronouns
- Critiquing the gender lexicon of World Languages
- Identity politics
- Promoting critical theories of “hierarchies, social structures, and the power and privilege of heterosexuals and males”
- Emphasizing the “oppressive systems of the patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy”
We must address this dangerous agenda head-on. That’s why I’m pleased to share with you an opportunity this weekend:
CALL TO ACTION:
Presentation and Q+A Session
Calvary Chapel Old Bridge
Sunday, March 28 at 6 PM ET
Our friends at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge are hosting a special one-night event this coming Sunday, March 28 at 6pm. I will be sharing on Parental Rights in Education with an open Q & A forum to address your concerns. Registration is required. I strongly encourage you to attend and invite other parents across the state. If you cannot join us in person, the event will be live streamed at Calvary Chapel Old Bridge’s website and Facebook page.
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
- Be Informed: Review Curriculum, Review Lesson Plans, Observe Classes
- Download: Back to School for Parents
- Download: Responding to the Transgender Issue, Parent Resource Guide
- Visit: Promise to America’s Children
Working for a better New Jersey!
P.S. Don’t forget to register for Sunday’s event here!
The following OpEd by Brittany Jones and Elizabeth Patton
was published by the Wichita Eagle on March 11, 2021.
The past year has highlighted how important it is to bridge the opportunity gaps in our educational system. As these gaps were exacerbated by pandemic-related school closures, working parent, single parents, students, teachers, and thousands of other Kansans worked through various levels of frustration attempting to navigate unchartered waters.
The island of commonality was that we all want our children to succeed. And we know the key to their success is a quality education. We also know some students thrived in virtual and hybrid learning while others struggled.
The lesson is that, in extraordinary times or ordinary times, flexibility and options are the keys to success.
As has been made painfully clear during the COVID-19 pandemic, not all Kansas families have the same options or access, and our one-size-fits-all system is not well-equipped to provide innovative educational solutions as diverse and unique as our kids are.
The legislature is considering a measure that would, in a limited way, address these challenges. Lawmakers should move quickly to send it to the governor, and she should sign it into law.
The bill would expand our current tax credit scholarship program to more families and also establish education savings accounts for certain students, allowing them to use their share of state per pupil funding in multiple ways, including private schools, virtual schools, tutoring, textbooks, services, programs, activities, classes or any other resources or programs provided or contracted by a school district, and other education-related expenses.
Our long term goal is to extend the opportunity to participate in ESAs to all families, but starting with at risk kids is still an important step. Expanding educational opportunity represents a rising tide that lifts all ships by allowing more families to customize the educational path of their children. A personalized education should be a standard feature of our educational system, not the exception to the rule. That is why we believe that to unleash the extraordinary potential of every child, all kids should have the option to customize their education and find the educational environment that best works for them.
That would transform the status quo in a way that provides each Kansas student with the unique opportunity they deserve.
This bill has a broader vision than open or closed, and it adds another critical piece to the puzzle of lifting all Kansas kids. It’s a good bill and the legislature should pass it.
We urge all parties to consider the world beyond the pandemic, and the opportunities for innovation we could make available to our children if we open our eyes to the possibilities.
We believe every kid counts. Every kid should have access to an education that fits their unique learning style, that prepares them for the kind of future they want to have.
Who our kids want to become should not be limited by where they live, where their parents work, or by anyone’s idea of who they are.
There is no silver bullet here, but significant and intentional policy changes can make all the difference in the lives of so many kids. Families want flexibility, options and opportunity. Our question to the legislature: If not now, when?
|Elizabeth Patton is state director of Americans for Prosperity-Kansas||Brittany Jones is Director of Advocacy at Family Policy Alliance of Kansas.|
Children aren’t made one-size-fits-all, and schooling options shouldn’t be either. While public schools work great for some children, others need the opportunities of homeschooling, private school, or other educational alternatives.
Yet in reality, many Wyoming families simply can’t afford non-public school educational alternatives.
That is why we are thrilled to support a bill brought by Representative Sue Wilson, HB 106 (The Wyoming Education Options Act). This bill has been carefully crafted to open educational freedom to more people while not infringing on the liberties we have now. We’re excited about this bill and hope that you’ll share your support by contacting your legislator today!
The bill allows families to be reimbursed for educational expenses (within limits) to provide their children the best education for them – whether at their local in-person public school, through online public school, homeschooling, private school, or another educational alternative. And, it does so in a way that is fiscally responsible (using existing funds!).
That’s great news for Wyoming families, including homeschoolers! Families could apply for reimbursement for curriculum, special classes, or other educational expenses.
Still, some have raised questions about how this would affect homeschool families. Allow me to clear up the answers to two common questions.
Would homeschoolers be required to participate? No. If you or someone you know is uncomfortable seeking reimbursement for your educational costs, there’s no need for you to worry about it! The program is entirely optional and is just for those who choose to participate.
If I participate as a homeschooler, will requirements change for me (including standardized testing)? The bill is careful to use language that aligns with existing homeschool law in Wyoming and does not mandate standardized testing.
Here’s what the bill does offer current or would-be homeschool families: the chance to save money while offering each child the best education for them. It’s the chance to create a wide open future for your child!
Right now, Wyoming ranks as one of the worst states in the union for education freedom.
Many families simply cannot afford educational options in our state. It is time we become a state that supports educational Freedom for every family in Wyoming.
To make this vision reality, though, our legislators need your support. Please contact your legislator today and let them know that not only is the Wyoming Education Options Act good for homeschoolers – it’s good for Wyoming!
It takes only a minute to contact them – and it could make the difference in the life of your child and other children across our great state.
Contact your Representative today!
For our children,
P.S. Once you’ve contacted your Representative, pass this message along to friends! Let our legislators know that Wyoming’s families want opportunity!
Senate Bill 2288 would give taxpayers an income tax credit in exchange for contributions that provide educational scholarships to low-income students. The credit would be equal to 75% of the amount contributed by the taxpayer.
Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota strongly believes that the best educational system is one that gives children a wide-open future and the tools to explore God’s calling in their lives. We want to advance policies that empower parents to have decision-making power when it comes to their children’s educational opportunities. This bill would help accomplish that.
This is an important bill, so please contact our Senators and ask them to vote “YES” on SB2288. The fastest way to do this is through our email alert system. Simply click here, fill in your information, and click send.
President and Executive Director
It has been an odd week with the bitter cold and with the passing of two men (one local and one national) who have been vital to the conservative movement, State Senator Bud Estes (R-Dodge City), and conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh. We are in prayer for both the Estes and Limbaugh families.
Even with the bitter cold outside, there has still been a decent amount of activity inside the Capitol that affects family values. Here are some of the bills that are winding their way through the legislature that may be of interest to you and your family:
- H.B. 2119 will create the Student Empowerment Act for at-risk students.
- S.B. 61 will expand the existing low-income Student Tax Credit Scholarship that has already successfully helped hundreds of Kansas students have access to educational opportunities. It was passed by the Senate last week 24-14.
- HB 2054 will limit who may deliver advanced ballots and work to better enforce our current ballot harvesting prohibitions.
- HB 2183 will work to ensure the balance of power between the branches of government is respected in order to protect the election process.
- HB 2319 would shorten the time frame in which advanced ballots can be returned.
- HB 2339 was heard in committee this week and will expand the crime of election tampering.
- HB 2066 expands expedited licensing laws to other residential (or those intending to reside) applicants in Kansas. These types of laws free families to make the best work and family decisions for their particular circumstances. It also encourages families to move to our state by removing onerous and unnecessary regulations.
- HB 2184 would legalize the use of marijuana for certain medical purposes. We are watching this bill closely because bills like this often are used as a gateway to legalize recreational marijuana which is known to impact families in a multitude of ways.
Be on the lookout for more information about how we are working to protect mothers and babies through Value Them Both. And there is still time to contact your Senators about the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.
There is a lot of activity in Kansas and we are so thankful to partner with you in protecting faith, family, and freedom!
Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy
Long before we reached adulthood, we learned this simple truth: God made everyone different. We are all unique, and our circumstances, our strengths, and our weaknesses often require individualized approaches.
While we can all see this self-evident truth, our education system still often fails to recognize this reality. Students may find themselves in a public school that isn’t meeting their needs – perhaps because of online vs. in-person difficulties from COVID, concerning content, the quality of teaching, or a lack of certain curricular approaches or extracurricular opportunities. One-size-fits-all doesn’t work!
Whatever the cause of the poor fit, a student’s ability to choose a different path may be dependent on their financial means to access an educational alternative such as private school or homeschooling.
Over the last year, a variety of events – and especially COVID – have driven more families to consider the individualized needs of their children’s education than ever before. Because of this, Wyoming families have started looking at education alternatives to ensure their children get the best education possible.
Wyoming has waited a long time to open educational opportunity, so we are far behind many other states in providing educational choice for families. Over 30 states, regardless of their political leanings, provide more educational options for families than the state of Wyoming.
That is why as an organization that fights for families, we’re proud to fight for school choice – parent-driven and student-centered education – and it’s why we’re so grateful for the leadership of Representative Sue Wilson who has introduced HB106-Wyoming Education Options Act.
HB106-Wyoming Educations Options Act is not a partisan bill in it political leanings. It leans directly toward empowering parents in their children’s education by having school districts reimburse parents for educational expenses outside of the public school system. This will allow parents to choose whether they would rather have their children attend a private school in their area or have more curricula options for their children if they are educating them at home.
House Bill 106 is considered by Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming® as one of the most important bills of the 2021 Legislative session because it can provide remarkably positive impact for families for generations to come.
Pray for passage of this bill and contact your legislator and ask them to vote “Yes” for HB 106!
The Covid crisis has reminded us of many things in New Jersey. One lesson we’ve re-learned: state government will happily seize unconstitutional power and tighten its grasp unless challenged by their own political party. And modern education does not work because it has a misplaced priority on unionized adults instead of the students. I urge us to take this Covid moment and change how we do education.
I believe children should not be required to attend failing school districts simply because of their zip code or financial status. In other words, I believe in Education Equality. Fourteen states recently passed bills approving Education Savings Accounts. This allows money to follow the student to whichever school the family determines is in the best interest of the child. Education Savings Accounts put the student first! It’s a parent driven, child-centered plan of education. How innovative!
New Jersey spends on average over $20,000 per pupil – the fourth highest in the nation behind New York, Washington DC, and Connecticut. Yet, with so much money invested in schools (notice I did not say in students – there is difference), the legislature and Governor Murphy are afraid to give parents a choice. They are aware of the data. According to Real Clear Opinion Research, 77% of people surveyed support school choice (educational equality).
This week, I had the opportunity to join school choice advocates from across the political spectrum. Together, we discussed how we can influence our legislature to put the health and future of children above the special interest of elections and political donations. In addition, I led a strategy conversation with key denominational and church affiliation leaders. We are working to mobilize the faith community to engage with their legislators on these issues: namely, to support parents’ rights in determining how and where their children are educated.
I look forward to making Education Equality a major emphasis of the 2021 elections. Candidates for office face a brutal and burdensome vetting process by the powerful New Jersey Education Association. Tragically, they fiercely oppose equal opportunities for students. Let us support those candidates who will give parents the ability to decide what is best for their children.
Let’s make New Jersey better!