Assembly Education, Bill, Critical Bill Monitor, Curriculum, Parental Rights, Policy Roundup

Bill Roundup: Parents’ Rights and Curriculum

Twenty-one bills were introduced into the Assembly Education Committee on Monday, May 2nd. Four have primary sponsors or co-sponsors who are members of the Assembly Education Committee (A3736, A3778, A3807, and A3816).

Protecting Parents’ Rights

Two-thirds (14) are sponsored by Democrats with the other third (7) sponsored by Republicans. A3800 enjoys ample support from Republicans; it has three Primary Sponsors and six Co-Sponsors from that party. The bill’s synopsis is “‘Parents’ Bill of Rights Act’; requires public school and school district provide certain information to parents and guardians and obtain parental consent prior to taking certain actions.” The bill looks to “prohibit[] a public school or school district from interfering with or denying the rights of parents and guardians of enrolled students” and lists a number of ways to protect parents’ rights, including having curriculum and accompanying instructional materials available for inspection as well as being “heard at school board meetings or other governance hearings pertaining to the public school or school district.”

Curriculum

Five bills concerning curriculum were introduced. Asm. Paul Moriarty (D-4) has reintroduced a bill from last session to require the Commissioner of Education to study the state’s geography standards (A3719). There were two bills concerning the health curriculum; in A3736 Asw. Shanique Speight (D-29), Asw. Sadaf Jaffer (D-16), and Asw. Shama Haider (D-37) want to require instruction on menstrual health and hygiene while Asm. Christian Barranco (R-26) looks to have parents opt-in to instruction on sex education with A3763. A3801 and A3824 are both sponsored by Republicans who want to limit the reach of the state when it comes to curriculum. The former bill wants to strike six of the nine subject matter areas from the law, leaving just English language arts, mathematics, and science standards while the latter restricts a bill signed into law last year requiring instruction in diversity and inclusion, making this instruction only required in high school.

Daniel Benson (D-14) introduced A3796, which “Establishes New Jersey Literacy Training Pilot Program in DOE.” Though promising, it leaves a lot to be desired concerning the kind of literacy for which teachers will receive training.

No bills gained a Criticality Rating, which designates bills that would would work toward an equitable, anti-racist, anti-oppressive transformation of society.

See an overview of all bills introduced into the NJ Legislature’s education committees on JWLLC’s Critical Bill Monitor page.

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