Gov. Phil Murphy is headed to Washington today to take part in a White House meeting on teacher shortages throughout the United States, and the top Republican in the New Jersey State Senate has some advice for him as he prepares for his meeting with Biden administration officials .
“Stop forcing teachers to be woke warriors in the progressive strategy of using schools to indoctrinate kids,” said Senate Minority Leader Steve Oroho. “Let teachers focus on English, science, and math instead of gender identity and sex.”
Oroho’ comments offer a glimpse into the Republican strategy to take control of the State Senate next year, talking about sex education in schools, the role of the state’s largest teacher’s union in curriculum planning, masking policies, and school funding formulas.
“If we let teachers focus on core subjects and stopped pushing them to be social justice warriors and COVID-19 police, they’d be more likely to have positive interactions with students and their parents and find satisfaction in their jobs,” Oroho said. “Governor Murphy doesn’t need to visit the White House to understand the problems he’s creating in Trenton for our children’s teachers.
“Tell the NJEA to stop trying to encourage teachers to wade into controversial issues unnecessarily that only increases conflict with parents and leads to burn out,” said Oroho.
“The NJEA should be encouraging teachers to partner with parents, not attacking them as extremists.”
Oroho accused New Jersey Democrats of pressing educators into “unnecessary conflicts with parents over controversial issues while the administration is cutting funding to hundreds of school districts.”
Oroho also wants an end to COVID-19 mandates “that do nothing.”
“Why should teachers in Newark who have a tough enough job have to be the mask police for another year?” he asked.
Murphy should also restore school funding to about 200 districts that lost state aid under recent budgets, Oroho says.
“Cutting the number of teachers those districts can afford to keep on payroll is one way to artificially reduce the teacher shortage, but it isn’t a solution that helps kids or improves education,” said Oroho.
According to Murphy’s office, the White House Domestic Policy Council meeting will focus on Biden’s bid to bolster educators.
First Lady Jill Biden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh., National Education Association president Becky Pringle, and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten will be among those in attendance.
Murphy plans to return to New Jersey this evening. Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver will serve as acting governor during his absence.
New Jersey Republicans see a path to picking up five seats to claim their first majority in 22 years when voters go to the polls in Murphy’s 2023 midterm election. Legislative redistricting approved earlier this year creates a narrow route to a majority.