Textbook Publishers Must Ignore ‘Dividing GOP Censorship Politics,’ Say NJ Democrats

New Jersey congressional Democrats on Friday urged educational publishers to resist rewriting their textbooks in response to demands from Republican-led states, saying, “We will not tolerate the lowering of our education standards and learning opportunities for our students, based on the censorship division policy. .”

The two state senators and five House members signed the letter, a response to GOP officials denouncing what they call “critical race theory” and opposing content that mentions families headed by homosexuals and incidents of racism in American history.

“If you comply with such requests for textbook changes based on Florida law or similar legislation in other states, we ask that you continue to make the original uncensored textbooks available in New Jersey schools and other states,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We are proud to have some of the nation’s top-rated public schools in our state, and we will not tolerate the lowering of our education standards and learning opportunities for our students, based on the policy censorship from politicians in Florida, Texas. or anywhere else.

The letter to four textbook publishers was led by Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-7th Dist., and U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Malinowski has been hammered on the issue by Republican groups supporting former Senate GOP leader Tom Kean Jr., who is trying to win the congressional seat he barely lost in 2020.

The Democratic lawmakers said in their letter that Republican efforts to limit what can be taught in schools appear to be “nothing more than a bigoted censorship campaign designed to scare parents, stoke racial grievances and intimidate publishers. textbooks to submit”.

florida rejected more than 40% of textbooks while Texas limited how teachers can discuss slavery and racism.

Lawmakers said they were concerned that “any changes made to appease their demands will affect the quality of public education in New Jersey and other states.”

Republicans managed to make school programs a corner issue last fall as they nearly defeated Gov. Phil Murphy and won the governorship of Virginia for the first time in more than a decade.

“I don’t believe we should be teaching that America is a racist nation,” New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli said at a town hall meeting in August 2021.

Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway has called the critical race theory debate “the politics of the dog whistle.”

“Political conservatives have used it with incredible effectiveness to cause anxiety, anger people, and then get them to the polls,” Holloway told the Star-Ledger editorial board shortly after the gubernatorial election. of 2021.

The issue exploded again this spring over New Jersey’s 2-year physical and health education standards, which outline when students should be taught about topics such as sexual orientation, gender identity and anatomy. Republicans pushed for the guidelines to be repealed while Democrats said the concerns were overblown and at odds with the facts.

“The narrative that our New Jersey public schools are teaching young children inappropriate content ‘isn’t true,'” Malinowski tweeted in April. “Republicans” are using rhetoric that plays on parents’ fears “to boost votes.”

The Republican National Congressional Committee sought to make an issue of Malinowski’s comments.

“Tom Malinowski’s anti-parenting tirade has sparked a culture war in NJ-07 and he’s just upset that parents in New Jersey have heard what he really thinks of them,” spokeswoman Samantha said. Bullock.

And the Tea Party Patriots cited the issue Thursday when endorsing Kean Thursday.

“While Governor Phil Murphy and his cronies in big government are bent on forcing a radical liberal agenda on children and indoctrinating them with left-wing propaganda, Tom Kean has been one of New Jersey’s strongest parenting advocates. and used his position to fight on behalf of all New Jersey parents and their children,” said Sal Russo, co-founder and chief strategist of the group.

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Jonathan D. Salant can be attached to [email protected]. Follow him on @JDSalant.

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