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Senator Michael Testa said it is shockingly clear that the State Board of Education is trying to limit participation in three public hearings that have been planned to receive comments on draft revisions to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
“The State Board of Education sent out notice of the three public hearings at midday on Thursday with a deadline of Monday at noon to register to testify,” said Testa (R-1). “They know that Friday is a State holiday and Sunday is Easter. It couldn’t be more obvious that they’re trying to limit public participation in what’s taught in our schools, just as they have in the past. They want public hearings without the public. It begs the question: what are they trying to hide?”
According to the notice of public hearings (click here for PDF of the public notice), registration to testify at any of the three hearings was to be open from March 27 until April 10 at noon.
While the registration period has supposedly been open for more than a week, the State Board of Education didn’t email the notice until 11:40 a.m. on Thursday (click here for a PDF of the email).
Two of the three days between when the notice was delivered by email and the Monday registration deadline are holidays — Good Friday (a state holiday) and Easter Sunday.
Testa also questioned why people are being required to register to testify by April 10 for hearings that will take place into May.
“Why should someone who wants to testify at the April 24 or May 3 hearings have to sign up by April 10?” Testa asked. “It’s shockingly clear they want to limit dissent so they can rubberstamp the changes they want to make to the learning standards. It’s another failure by the State Board of Education to be open and transparent with parents and concerned citizens.”
The proposed learning standard updates would recommend that teachers use certain methods to incorporate lessons on climate change and environmental justice into math and English classes as required in an initiative spearheaded by First Lady Tammy Murphy.
The Southern Region hearing will be held at Camden County College on Thursday, April 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Northern Region hearing will be held at Warren County College on Monday, April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Central Region hearing will be held at the New Jersey Department of Education in Trenton on Wednesday, May 3 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone who wishes to testify at any of the public hearings must register by noon on April 10.
You can register online at https://homeroom5.doe.state.nj.us/events/. You can also register by calling the Office of the State Board of Education at 609-376-9071.
This is a press release.