It’s that time of year again.
That rare moment on the bureaucratic calendar when the NJ State Board of Education must listen to the public – the parents and people of New Jersey. January, May, and September are the months when the public can give comments on any topic.
However, unlike every other legislative committee hearing in Trenton, and local school board meetings across our state, the NJ State Board of Education meeting is not held in-person but behind computer screens.
This virtual meeting format started because of Covid. It now remains in place because of their controversial decisions regarding highly sexualized learning standards and the well documented learning loss NJ students have suffered. Parents are upset and want to be heard. After I spoke with the Department of Education earlier this week, there will be no change to this off-limits meeting policy anytime in the near future.
In their own words, “Public testimony has been suspended until further notice”
Therefore, the New Jersey State Board of Education will continue to dictate their mandates to local communities with:
No access for the people.
No assembly of the people.
No accountability to the people.
Thankfully, strong Republican leaders introduced a bill (Senate bill 3299 and Assembly bill 4669) in November 2022 that would require the state board of education to meet in-person and make the meeting available online for those who cannot attend. Not surprisingly, the Democratic majority in Trenton does not support this commonsense bill.
Until there is a change in leadership at the legislative level and in the governor’s office, we must use the meager means of communication that is granted to us, possibly in an obligatory manner – written testimony to be sent to the general email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Director of Advocacy