LILLEY: Hunterdon Teachers Decry Superintendent’s Decision to Cancel Learning For a Drag Queen Show

A friendly teacher sent Sunlight a copy of a letter written by a reportedly “large group” of Hunterdon Central Regional High School teachers (here’s the Hunterdon teacher letter ) criticizing their superintendent for the way a school-sponsored drag show was handled and the resulting loss in instructional time.  Sunlight asks whether these teachers have a voice in today’s ultra-progressive NJEA.  

To their great credit, the teachers are “deeply concerned about COVID-related learning losses that many of our students are experiencing.”  In addition to missed instructional time for state-mandated tests and pep rallies, the teachers express their “frustration” when passes were given to students to leave class early to participate in the drag show.

They ask if it’s “equitable” for students to be prohibited from attending sporting events as punishment for an alleged act of racism, but are allowed to attend the drag show the very same day.  The superintendent’s decision “created significant confusion, division and resentment between students.”

Finally, the teacher ask about transparency.  Were parents informed that their children would be missing instructional time to prepare for a drag show?  Was the professional drag performer paid?

Apparently, these teachers feared for their jobs if they spoke out by name, but they have asked that their letter be read at the November 21 school board meeting.

As Sunlight has detailed, the NJEA has become ultra-progressive in cultural matters.  It has trained teachers to become activists to push for truly radical eduction policies in local school districts.  And, as detailed by NJEdReport, the NJEA featured “Drag Queen Story Telling” at the NJEA convention last week.

But not all teachers support this focus on extraneous cultural matters over instruction, especially in light of the severe pandemic-related learning loss.  Do these teachers have  voice in today’s NJEA?

Michael Lilley, Sunlight Policy Center

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