“We cannot continue to send our children to Caesar for their education and be surprised when they come home as Romans.”

 Voddie T. Baucham

Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia.

School choice has been a major priority for Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey. We know that parents have the strongest incentives to do what’s best for their kids. Thankfully, more than half of the United States offers families real educational choice options. Fourteen states offer Education Savings Accounts that allows the money to follow the child to help fund whatever education choice their parent decides – private school, home school, tutoring, and more. New Jersey is not yet one of those states.

A recent study by the Associated Press showed a 3% decline in public school enrollment in New Jersey for this upcoming school year. “The biggest decrease was among economically disadvantaged students, where enrollment numbers fell -10.02 percent.” Parents seem to be seeking alternative options for their students, perhaps because the public schools are failing them.  According to 2021 study by JerseyCAN, Covid has worsened the crisis:

Parents want options.
Parents want answers.
Parents want accountability.

They refuse to allow their children to be indoctrinated with sexual and racist ideology by left leaning activists.

That is why we are so excited to announce Leo Terrell as this year’s speaker for our annual Guardian of the Family Fundraising Gala – A Better Future: Parental rights in school choice and the problems in public education.

Leo Terrell is a Fox News contributor, podcast host, civil rights attorney, author, and former school teacher. He is a strong advocate for parents making decisions in education, not unions or state legislatures. This one minute video communicates how strongly Leo believes the family unit is what makes this nation great.

Save the Date: Wednesday, Nov 10, 2021
Location: The Venetian, Garfield, NJ
Time: 6:30-9:00PM

Protecting your family,

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

On Thursday, June 24, the full state Senate voted on A5597. This bill amends the current law that gives schools the ability to administer student surveys on sensitive issues including sexual behaviors and attitudes. Presently, schools in New Jersey must send home forms for parents to grant permission for their student to participate in these personal and probing sexual health surveys.

The proposed change in New Jersey law would remove the requirement for parents to pro-actively opt their student into the health surveys. Instead, every student would automatically be given the survey unless their parent in writing requested for them to be excused from it.

What is the reason for this change? According to the language of the bill, not enough parents are giving schools the permission to ask their children these sex-based health questions. What do the bill sponsors recommend as the solution? Simple: stop asking the parents for their permission!

Two Republican senators stood up on the Senate floor to urge Democrats to amend this bill or vote against it.

First, Senator Steve Oroho (R–Sparta) made public comments against it.

“I rise in opposition to this bill. What it does is take away the proactive parental consent. Silence does not equal parental consent. There are some very controversial topics in here. I propose the bill is placed back on second reading for amendment.”

His request was rejected 25-15 on a partisan party-line vote.

Then, Senator Holly Schepisi (R–Westwood) stood in opposition, communicating the concerns she heard about this bill during the Senate Education Committee hearing.

“We had testimony from our superintendents and principals that they don’t want this bill either. Over the past year, there has been a complete eroding of trust between parents, board of education, superintendents, and principals. Through no fault of their own, they are in a very precarious place due to legislative initiatives that we put forth changing curriculum on them… Parents right now do not trust their boards of Ed of their schools… Superintendents and principals acknowledge this and said this bill, and the timing of this bill, is going to further erode that trust and create much more of an adversarial position between the schools, and the children, and the parents. For that reason, I would ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to respectively rethink their position of voting yes.”

Her request was once again denied on a partisan party-line vote.

The results are in.

YES vote = I do not believe
schools should ask
parents for their permission
NO vote = I believe schools should
ask parents to actively grant permission
James Beach, Cherry Hill (D) Christopher Bateman, Somerville (R)
Richard Codey, Livingston (D) Chris Brown, Linwood (R)
Nilsa Cruz Perez, Camden (D) Anthony Bucco, Denville (R)
Joseph Cryan, Union (D) Christopher Connors, Forked River (R)
Sandra Cunningham, Jersey City (D) Kristin Corrado, Totowa (R)
Patrick Diegnan, South Plainfield (D) Michael Doherty, Washington (R)
Nia Gill, Montclair (D) James Holzapefel, Brick (R)
Vin Gopal, Freehold (D) Thomas Kean, Westfield (R)
Linda Greenstein, Cranbury (D) Declan O’Scanlon, Holmdel (R)
Joseph Lagana, Paramus (D) Steven Oroho, Sparta (R)
Fred Madden, Turnersville (D) Joseph Pennacchio, Montville (R)
Nellie Pou, Paterson (D) Holly Schepisi, Westwood (R)
Ronald Rice, Newark (D) Robert Singer, Lakewood (R)
Teresa Ruiz, Newark (D) Michael Testa, Cape May Court House (R)
Nicholas Sacco, North Bergen (D) Samuel Thompson, Old Bridge (R)
Paul Sarlo, Wood-Ridge (D)
Nicolas Scutari, Linden (D)
Troy Singleton, Moorestown (D)
Bob Smith, Piscataway (D)
Brain Stack, Jersey City (D)
Stephen Sweeney, West Deptford (D)
Shirley Turner, Ewing Township (D)
Joseph Vitale, Woodbridge (D)
Loretta Weinberg, Teaneck (D)

Dawn Addiego, Medford (D) did not vote

 

Remember, you can hold your elected officials accountable both NOW by contacting them, and in elections!

Protecting your family,

Shawn Hyland,
Executive Director

 

As an 80’s kid, I remember the public service announcement that came on TV each night after watching the safe sitcoms of a distant era of prime-time television. Just as bedtime approached before the nightly news, a short but repetitive question was asked to parents on a daily basis, “It’s 10 PM. Do you know where your children are?”

Nearly forty years later, the world is not same. I am now the adult, major networks offer few family friendly programs, and the question parents have to answer has dramatically changed. Sadly, we must ask: “It’s 8 AM. Do you know what gender your children are?”

In 2018, the New Jersey State Board of Education published their transgender guidance for school districts because of a specific law passed by the legislator in 2017 (N.J.S.A. 18a:36-41) that directed the Commissioner of Education to develop and distribute guidelines concerning transgender students. This included defining transgenderism and ensuring a student’s chosen gender identity remain confidential and concealed – even from their parents!

Although Governor Chris Christie’s administration passed the 2017 law, it was Governor Murphy’s administration that wrote and published the transgender guidelines for school districts we have now. They specifically call for a “student centered” approach:


Student-Centered Approach
A school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required. Further, a student need not meet any threshold diagnosis or treatment requirements to have his or her gender identity recognized and respected by the district, school or school personnel. Nor is a legal or court-ordered name change required. There is no affirmative duty for any school district personnel to notify a student’s parent or guardian of the student’s gender identity or expression.(page 2-3, Transgender Student Guidance for School Districts)

 

This means your child can leave your house identifying as the gender that matches their biological sex, but then change their name, pronoun, clothes, and self-proclaimed gender identity at school, and you would never know. Because of this law, school districts statewide have adopted policies that prohibit teachers from telling parents the gender identity of their own children.

In other words, schools have legally obligated teachers to deceive parents!

It is happening more than you realize. Tragically, I have spoken to dozens of New Jersey public school teachers that are grieved and rightfully angered over this. One teacher, Rob DeJulia,  a 20-year teacher in the Vernon Township School District, recently testified in opposition to this policy at a local school board meeting. If you are a public school teacher and want to voice your concerns along with other teachers, please contact us.

Summer break is here, but schools will restart in two months. Parents will need to answer this question as their children walk on the school bus this September: “It’s 8 AM Do I know what gender my children are?”

Protecting your family,

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

 

A proverb often attributed to George Washington states: “Government … like fire, is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master.”

 

While it’s uncertain that George Washington really spoke those words, the proverb still rings true and captures the challenge that has faced humanity since the first governments were formed in history. Government can not only allow us to protect ourselves from external aggression but can also be used to oppress and coerce citizens.

Unfortunately, history demonstrates that governmental oppression has been far more common than liberty – and this fact proves painfully true in the realm of education.

Last month, a parent from Sweden emailed a pastor named John Piper with a concern that struck close to home. In his email, he described a national education system overtaken with the radical extremes of modern Marxist thought, specifically with ideas that teach that maleness and femaleness is defined by how you feel about your body rather than biology. He added that Sweden has placed so many restrictions upon Christian and private schools that they are forced into the position of teaching that same ideology. In Sweden, an attempt to remove your child from such indoctrination by teaching them within the home is grounds for the government to remove them from home and force them into foster care.

Such stories are rightly shocking to families in America, but we have to understand that it is a clash of worldviews that creates stories such as these. Central to the clash is the question of whether families or governments should have the primary responsibility of raising children.

There is no doubt that families can benefit when government enacts policies that help families to thrive. Also, government and civil society receive tremendous benefit from the traditional family. The clash comes when some view government as the prime authority in deciding what is best for the child.

That mindset is popular among some within the government and in academia. And because of that mindset among the liberal elites, Americans face growing pressure to bow to certain “experts” within the public school system. These “experts” teach ideas such as “Critical Race Theory” and the gender spectrum (including a “non-binary” gender in which someone is neither a man nor a woman). They teach that boys should be allowed to play in girls’ sports (disregarding the very real physical advantage boys have), and they instruct our children that the whole world is subdivided by a Marxist narrative of “The Oppressed” and “The Oppressor.”

When such ideas grow within a government, that government is on the cusp of changing from servant to master. The government that we witnessed in this year’s legislative session in Santa Fe displayed a disdain for the family that should set off alarm bells.

Because of your help, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico has been blessed to provide a greater voice in speaking about these crucial topics as they surface in our state. Thank you for standing with us to ensure that the government is a source of protection, not tyranny.

The Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico Team

A proverb often attributed to George Washington states: “Government … Like fire, is a dangerous servant, and a fearful master.”

 

While it’s uncertain that George Washington really spoke those words, the proverb still rings true and captures the challenge that has faced humanity since the first governments were formed in history. Government can not only allow us to protect ourselves from external aggression but can also be used to oppress and coerce citizens.

Unfortunately, history demonstrates that governmental oppression has been far more common than liberty – and this fact proves painfully true in the realm of education.

Last month, a parent from Sweden emailed a pastor named John Piper with a concern that struck close to home. In his email he described a national education system overtaken with the radical extremes of modern Marxist thought, specifically with ideas that teach that maleness and femaleness is defined by how you feel about your body rather than biology. He added that Sweden has placed so many restrictions upon Christian and private schools that they are forced into the position of teaching that same ideology. In Sweden, an attempt to remove your child from such indoctrination by teaching them within the home is grounds for the government to remove them from home and force them into foster care.

Such stories are rightly shocking to families in America, but we have to understand that it is a clash of worldviews that creates stories such as these. Central to the clash is the question of whether families or governments should have the primary responsibility of raising children.

There is no doubt that families can benefit when government supports the family structure. Also, government and civil society receive tremendous benefit from the traditional family.  The clash comes when some view government as the prime authority deciding what is best for the child.

That mindset is popular among some within the government and in academia. And because of that mindset among the liberal elites, Americans face growing pressure to bow to certain “experts” within the public school system. These “experts” teach ideas such as “Critical Race Theory” and the gender spectrum (including a “non-binary” gender in which someone is neither a man nor a woman). They teach that boys should be allowed to play in girls’ sports (disregarding the very real physical advantage boys have), and they instruct our children that the whole world is subdivided by a Marxist narrative of “The Oppressed” and “The Oppressor.”

When such ideas grow within a government, that government is on the cusp of changing from servant to master. Having recently fought against that change here in Wyoming, I ask all of you to stand firm in your calling to speak the truth in love as Christians and as American citizens.

Because of your help, Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming has been blessed to provide a greater voice in speaking about these crucial topics as they surface in Wyoming. Thank you for standing with us to ensure that the government is a source of protection, not tyranny.

For freedom,

Nathan Winter
Executive Director

The major part of legislative session wrapped up at 2:15 AM Saturday morning. Despite the best laid plans, legislative session is always a bit unpredictable. Given the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and a host of other complicating factors, this session redefined unpredictability.

But that is not to say unpredictability is always bad. This was arguably our most successful session to date despite the underlying chaos. When session started, we didn’t know how long we would be able to stay in session or how long it would take to get our premier legislation, Value Them Both, passed in both chambers.  We tried to realistically set expectations while also aggressively fighting for families. Because of how quickly Value Them Both passed, we were able to affect policy on almost every one of our core topics.

VALUE THEM BOTH

With the help of 114 pro-life legislators (86 in the House and 28 in the Senate), we were able to pass Value Them Both in record time on January 28th.   This huge accomplishment, first, required outstanding election results for pro-life candidates, and, secondly, leadership in the House and Senate who were committed to ensuring the amendment passed quickly. We once again thank Ty Masterson, Ron Ryckman, Rick Wilborn, Dan Hawkins, and Blaine Finch for their leadership on Value Them Both. And finally, we can never thank our brave advocates enough – Molly Baumgardner, Tory Arnberger, Renee Erickson, Susan Humphries, Kellie Warren, Barb Wasinger – as well as many others.

As we prepare for an election in August of 2022, we would love to speak at your church or your civic group about the impact of Value Them Both and how we protect our pro-life laws. Likewise, we would want to train you to speak about these issues in your area. Respond to this email and let us know you are interested in becoming an advocate for Value Them Both!

#SAVEGIRLSSPORTS

As soon as Value Them Both passed, we began to address the other seven objectives on our to-do list. And I am excited to report that we made major progress in every area we engaged!

Our second biggest objective was to protect women’s sports through the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. Though we failed to override the Governor’s veto by one vote in the Senate, we made significant strides in highlighting the conversation in the legislature and beyond. Be on the lookout for ways you can engage in standing up for our girls on a local level as we mobilize a strategy to continue the conversation and continue to advocate for fairness.

FALLOUT FROM 2020

After 2020, election integrity and controlling the power of tyrannical governors became the topic of national conversation. And that same conversation was reflected in Kansas. Through two elections bills, we were able to close several loopholes that could have exposed our elections to misuse. These safeguards will be especially helpful as we prepare for Value Them Both to pass on a statewide ballot. We were also able to ensure that our God-given religious freedom will be protected when a state of emergency is declared.

STOP BILLS THAT PUT FAMILIES AT RISK

While the new version of the “medical” marijuana bill was a more conservative bill than the one previously discussed, the bill that was rammed through committee and debated on the House floor last week was anything but conservative or strictly medical. This discussion is always complicated, rife with legal concerns, and real human concerns about the effect on families and society. Thankfully, the bill that the House debated did not move in the Senate. Several conservative legislators pointed out the plethora of potential harms to pregnant women, children, and society in general that we have seen in other states with liberal marijuana policies.

Also, a bill that would have further opened the door for the gambling industry to prey on families was stopped earlier in session. We recognize that the conversations around these issues are complicated in our society and the lines are not firmly drawn with well-intentioned individuals on both sides, but we will continue to dialogue with legislators and encourage legislators to put the good of Kansas families over profit.

SCHOOL CHOICE

School choice is the reason I did not get more than a few hours of sleep any night last week. While we are disappointed that a bill that included Education Savings Accounts did not make it to the Governor’s desk, we are thankful that a debate on the topic happened in both chambers. It also has garnered significant public discussion. I talk to families all across the state who are trying to discern the best way to fulfill their responsibility to educate their children in a way that glorifies God. It is my goal to equip you with as many options as I can.

One huge school choice win is the expansion of the low-income tax credit. Passing an education budget with policy requirements was one of the final things the legislature did late Friday night. The key thing for school choice advocates was the removal of restrictions for kids who can receive a scholarship from scholarship granting organizations. The new program will accept kids from any school (previously it was just an arbitrary list of the lowest performing schools) and secondly extended opportunity to kids who are a part of the reduced lunch program whereas they previously had to be part of the free lunch program. It encourages Kansans to use their resources to benefit kids in our state who would not have had any school choice opportunities without this program. This program now truly reflects that kids deserve options and opportunities no matter where they live or how much their parents make.

It is my absolute honor to represent you and your family at the Capitol each day. My goal every morning is to first bring Christ glory and secondly to represent you well. While we will still return to the Capitol for the official last day of session, known as sine die, we are turning now towards influencing local policies, educating families on how they can be involved, and working with policy makers beyond session to advance the family and honor God!

For Kansas,

Brittany Jones, Esq.
Director of Advocacy

The legislature begins its final week of work on Monday. And boy do they have a lot of work to do! For people who care about families there are three key topics that the legislature will be discussing over the next seven days that are important.

So I need you to take time to contact your legislators on just three things today:

  1. Save Girls SportsAfter passing Value Them Both at the very beginning of session, protecting girls’ opportunities in sports became our number one priority. This is a national movement and now at least seven states have passed legislation to ensure a level playing field for girls. But our Governor wants to stand in the way of the majority of Kansans, and instead sided with the Biden Administration and radical LGBTQ+ activists.Now is the time for us to ensure that Kansas girls going forward that we had.Now is the time to stand up for Kansas girls!

    Now is the time to tell your legislator to override the Governor’s veto.

    It’s easy on our action center!

  2. Educational FreedomAfter falling just one vote short the last day of the regular session, educational freedom will continue to be a discussion during veto session. The legislature still has to pass a bill that contains school funding. This funding should include policies defining how the budget should be spent. We should be able to ensure that the money going to schools is used in ways that actually help kids learn and excel. Educational options for families is just one of the ways to do that.Ask your legislators to support legislation that will unleash families’ choices as they seek educate their children in a way that best prepares their children for the future! You can find your legislators names and numbers on our action page.
  3. Election IntegrityDo you believe that only the legislature should set election law? Do you believe ballot harvesting (allowing someone else besides the voter to turn in a ballot) should be limited? These are pretty common-sense protections, that thus far, have not been enforceable in law in Kansas. We’ve even had legislators admit on the floor that they have used some questionable election practices.Our nation relies on the integrity of elections for the legitimacy of everything the government does. HB 2183 simply closes some loopholes in our laws so that bad actors cannot exploit them. Governor Kelly, without giving much explanation, vetoed this important law.Reach out to your legislators and ask them to override the Governor’s veto and protect our elections!

These are just three of the topics that that your legislators will be discussing over the next week. Pray for them as they discuss a variety of topics. They need wisdom and insight to lead our state. Pray that God will shape their hearts and that they will choose to make decisions that protect our families and honor God.

For Kansas,

Brittany Jones
Director of Advocacy

“Mr. Hyland, I sent your information to my siblings with the link to support opting out for parents and they called me racist and homophobic. I was shocked they would support teaching LGBT curriculum in grammar school.” Parent from Monmouth County, April 20, 2021

I speak to churches nearly each week concerning the major curriculum problems in New Jersey public schools. I often remind the listeners that they are not the fringe – they are the faithful.

The insistence by some that the post-modern view of sex, sexuality and gender identity is the only acceptable view, is gravely insulting to tens of thousands of New Jersey immigrants, such as Muslim and Hispanic families. These minority groups hold firm to the same traditional, historical, mainstream, and current global view of sexuality and gender identity that you do — a lifelong covenant relationship between two unrelated adults of the opposite sex.

I guess using today’s labels that should lead us to conclude – to reject the traditional view of marriage is Islamophobic and xenophobic! Thankfully, we do not subscribe to such empty maligned ad hoc attacks as those used against us to silence debate. Instead, we assume goodwill in public policy and listen to those who disagree.

But if you think radical labels of hate and fear only apply to our scriptural view of the human family, think again…

This week, 101.5FM published a news story covering the recent New Jersey Terrorist Threat Assessment released by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. Local governments were forewarned to guard against anarchist extremists, anti-government extremists, racially motivated extremists, home grown terrorists, and… “anti-abortion” extremists. (Thank you for those that came out to the pro-life rally last Saturday)

How should we respond to such gross misrepresentations of our faith and character?

Let’s remember, Jesus promised this would be our experience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” Matthew 5:11. And he taught us to pray for those who would disparage and vilify us. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44

In the end, we must never forget who we are working for. We are advocating for parents to raise their children without government actively interfering to turn the hearts of the children against their family’s beliefs. We are defending preborn babies who have the instinctive will to live. We are safeguarding the religious freedom of people to live according to their consciences and not the dictates of the totalitarian state.

Don’t let labels and lists that define you as “the fringe” intimidate you. Stay faithful.

Protecting your family,

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

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:

    1. 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!
    2. 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,

Shawn Hyland
Executive Director

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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