By Senator Michael Testa, Jr.
Just when we thought the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) could not possibly get any worse, they proved all of us wrong again at their most recent “convention” in Atlantic City last month. Instead of focusing on the things that matter to parents and their children, such as recouping grave learning losses due to draconian shutdowns of our schools, the NJEA felt it was worthwhile to host a drag queen story hour and invited irrelevant social justice warriors Nikole Hannah Jones and David Hogg to speak.
Has the NJEA lost their collective minds? What are their real priorities?
While this is anything but good news for our families, it is not shocking. The NJEA talks a big game about standing up for our students but, in the end, we know what they are all about. The NJEA is just another slush fund designed to push a radical agenda on our children and their families.
Despite what you hear from Democrats in Trenton, New Jersey’s education system is facing real, systemic problems. Most notably, century high learning losses and historically low-test scores—both of which have been exacerbated by unnecessary COVID lockdowns.
Imagine this – while your child was off from school for two days or sometimes more in other districts for, “convention week,” their teachers were at a “LGBTQIA+ banned books drag queen story hour” instead of sharpening their tools to become even better at their jobs to teach your child. The NJEA described the story hour as a way for educators to “explore and express their intersectional identities.”
Just when you think it could not reach any higher levels of insanity – it does. Performers for Drag Queen Entertainment read attendees several books including “And Tango Makes Three,” a story of two male penguins who have a baby penguin together, and “Prince & Knight,” a picture book about a prince and knight who fall in love. The drag queens also read “I am Jazz,” a story about a two-year-old who realizes she is a transgender female.
Read more about the NJEA’s convention “activities” here.
Parents and many teachers on the frontlines are rightly upset about the stream of far-left indoctrination from activist educators which seek to misguide our students instead of preparing them for success in the real world. The reality is, they should be! What is happening at the very top of the NJEA is lunacy and does not reflect the views of many in their membership ranks.
As the father of three beautiful children and the husband of an educator, I fundamentally believe our schools need to get back to the basics. Our students need to be learning how to read at a high level, excel in math, learning about our history, both good and bad, and science. These indoctrination events at a teacher’s convention completely miss the mark and are a slap in the face to working families.
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the “nation’s report card,” math scores for fourth- and eighth-graders saw the largest decrease ever and reading scores dropped to levels not seen since 1992.
Where is the sense of urgency from our union “leaders” that should be working to revert those daunting statistics?
Remember when the NJEA called us “extreme” for believing we deserve to have a seat at the table when it comes to when, how, and what our kids are taught? It’s time for the NJEA to take a hard look in the mirror and come to grips with the fact that they work for parents and students, not the other way around.
I am committed to helping ensure that my colleagues and I in Trenton work together to make life better for our students who desperately need it. Time will tell, but I’m not prepared to say “leadership” at the NJEA is prepared to do the same.
Are you ready to work together and fight back?
Senator Michael L. Testa, Jr. is a State Senator representing New Jersey’s First Legislative District which includes Atlantic, Cape May, & Cumberland Counties. He also serves as Chairman of the Cumberland County Regular Republican Organization.