Ciattarelli Op-Ed: Bergen Record: It's Time to Get Schools Back to Basics

By Jack Ciattarelli
July 26, 2021
Bergen Record/NorthJersey.com
LINK TO STORY

Since I announced my campaign for governor in January 2020, I’ve been traveling up and down our great state doing what candidates and elected officials should do more often — listening to everyday men and women, hearing their concerns and engaging them in blunt, honest conversation about how to fix our state. My plans to do just that are clearly outlined in detail on my website, www.Jack4NJ.com. 

In my travels, one issue that comes up repeatedly with parents — Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike — are the changes to the public-school curriculum pushed by Gov. Phil Murphy. Changes that now require kindergarteners to learn about gender identification and sexual orientation and middle school kids to know about vaginal, anal and oral sex.

Some of these changes were pushed through and enacted during a global pandemic when people were, understandably, distracted.

Parents aren’t just concerned and frustrated. They’re also angry about an infringement of their rights as parents to educate their children about life’s most personal topics and then being shamed when they dare speak up.

Can you blame them? Murphy’s support for these changes to the public-school curriculum is extreme and out of touch with the overwhelmingly majority of New Jersey residents.

As usual, Murphy and his allies response to my criticism was to attack me personally and dishonestly. They also tried to label me as anti-gay because some of these changes were made as part of a new law signed by Murphy adding an LGBTQ curriculum in our schools. Their attack, of course, is total nonsense and meant to distract you from the facts at hand.

For the record, I strongly believe that our schools should be teaching that bigotry is immoral; the power and beauty of diversity and the necessity of moral virtues like tolerance, inclusivity and mutual respect. We can teach all these powerful and critically important lessons without  exposing students to subject matter they aren’t mature enough to process.

One of the country’s leading gay rights organizations defended me and rightfully criticized Murphy and others on the far left for “intentionally mischaracterizing” my comments, saying that “fighting attempts to expose young children in our schools to overtly sexualized and identity-driven ideology doesn’t make someone an anti-LGBT ‘bigot.’ It makes them sane.”

Expecting kindergarteners who can’t even tie their own shoes to grasp the complexity of gender identity and mandating that middle-school students be taught about explicit sexual acts when they are barely teenagers isn’t just extreme. It’s dangerous. It’s also an attempt by Murphy and the state to supplant the role and responsibility of parents.

I say enough! It’s time we get our politics back to the mainstream and our school curriculum back to basics. If you agree, I would be honored to have your vote.

Jack Ciattarelli, a former member of the New Jersey General Assembly, is the Republican nominee for governor.

 

Jack 4 NJ