New Jersey will soon require its schools to teach students about LGBT history and the impact that LGBT Americans have had on society, becoming the second state to pass a statewide educational requirement that some critics say is another step toward indoctrination.
Following in the footsteps of California, New Jersey Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed into law S1569. The legislation requires boards of education in the state to include an instruction that accurately portrays the “political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
The school boards will have to implement changes to the curriculum by the 2020-2021 school year, according to the law.
The bill was pushed and endorsed by a number of pro-LGBT political organizations that include the Garden State Equality and GLSEN, which advocate for LGBT-inclusive curriculums.
Decisions will fall to local school boards about what information needs to be studied, what books should be studied and how lessons should be organized.
Supporters say that such lessons expose students to “a more inclusive and accurate account of history” and promotes “acceptance and diversity.” Proponents also believe that the law will bring “classroom materials into alignment” with the state’s core curriculum standards by ensuring that “students receive diverse instruction in history and the social sciences.”
“It’s critical that our classrooms highlight the achievements of LGBTQ people throughout history. Our youth deserve to see how diverse American history truly is — and how they can be a part of it one day, too,” Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino said in a statement. “I’m thankful to Governor Murphy for making New Jersey the second state in the nation to have a law promoting LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum.”
While the law’s passage has been celebrated by activists and liberal lawmakers, social conservatives voiced concern with the legislation.
Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, a statewide social conservative advocacy group, told NorthJersey.com that the new law infringes on parental rights.
“We believe it further erodes the right of parents to discuss this sensitive issue with their children if in fact schools are going to be promoting and making the claim that this particular person was an LGBTQ member,” Deo argued.
Conservative radio host Judi Franco wrote in an op-ed that the new education requirement is just “another step in the total indoctrination of our kids.”
“Forget about the fact that our schools are failing despite how much money we throw at them, the law is simply another misguided, feel-good ploy in the governors attempt to turn his constituents into group-think automatons,” Franco, who co-hosts the midday show on New Jersey’s 101.5 FM, wrote.
“If you want to create a generation of people who embrace ‘diversity’ (difficult), who don’t think their group is better than any other (doubtful) who love EVERYONE (impossible), why single out one oppressed group?”
Ken Ham, founder of the Christian apologetics organization Answers in Genesis and its Kentucky-based Attractions Ark Encounter and Creation Museum, also weighed in, tweeting, “Public (Govt) schools have increasingly become anti-Christian churches of secular humanism indoctrinating generations of kids in moral relativism & evolutionary naturalism. There are some missionaries in the system, but many teachers are priests of humanism.”
In another tweet, Ham added that to teach “true equality and inclusion” would require teaching that “all human beings are made in God’s image.”
“[A]ll are sinners, all can receive the free gift of salvation, & all need to judge their behavior/worldview against the absolute standard — God's Holy Word,” he stressed.
The state of New Jersey has passed as many as six pro-LGBT equality laws in the last 12 months, according to Garden State Equality.
Last fall, the New Jersey Department of Education sent shools guidance instructing schools to use the preferred pronouns and names of trans-identified students and provide them access to bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that match their gender identity.
That guidance clarified a 2017 law signed by then-Republican Gov. Chris Christie.
"Parental rights are being raped and this is why we have to stand up now," Greg Quinlan, founder of the social conservative advocacy group Center for Garden State Families, told CP last September. "We have to stand up and fight this. Parental rights really is a constitutional right. No one has the right to tell our children that they can undo what a parent wants them to do unless that parent is really doing some physical or emotional harm."