New Jersey’s statewide teachers union has begun airing a jarring ad depicting concerned parents as “extremists.”
The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) released the advertisement Monday. In the ad, which as one Twitter user pointed out is currently airing, parents concerned about curriculum materials in classrooms are labeled as “extremists” attacking New Jersey schools to score political points. Republicans in the state reacted fiercely to the ad, slamming the union for demonizing parents.
“We don’t agree on everything in New Jersey,” a narrator begins the 15-second ad. It opens with pictures captioned “Pork Roll” and “Taylor Ham,” a reference to a popular cultural debate among New Jerseyans. “But we all agree that our kids deserve a world-class education. So when extremists start attacking our schools, that’s not who we are.”
At this point, the ad shows black-and-white photos of parents protesting at school board meetings, with two news headlines: an article from NJ.com entitled “Some NJ schools under siege,” about parents attempting to remove books with explicit sexual and LGBTQ content from school curricula; and another from Patch.com entitled “Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Introduced By NJ State Senator,” about a parents’ rights bill introduced in the state legislature in May. “People who only want to fight to score political points should take that somewhere else,” the ad concludes.
Republicans and parents’ rights organizations blasted the ad and the NJEA for slandering parents.
“If protecting our children from Phil Murphy’s insane sex ed standards is ‘extreme,’ then we wear this as a badge of honor, @NJEA,” the New Jersey Republican Party wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
“Hey, @NJEA. Concerned parents who show up at school board meetings are not ‘extremists.’ THEY’RE PARENTS!” the State Assembly’s Republican caucus tweeted in response to the ad.
Republican State Senator Ed Durr, who authored the Parents’ Rights bill mentioned in the ad, blasted the NJEA as “out of touch” to the concerns of parents about sexual content in schools.
“Despite what the NJEA says, parents are not extremists for expressing concerns about curriculum mandates or wanting to have a voice in their children’s education,” Durr said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s another example of the NJEA being out of touch with parents and totally tone deaf to their concerns that sensitive topics such as sex education and gender identity are not appropriate for young kids. Frankly, the NJEA is taking an extreme position by attacking parents instead of listening to them.”
“Apparently the NJEA doesn’t see the irony of telling concerned parents to ‘take that somewhere else’ when they vehemently oppose school choice that would give parents that option,” Durr added. “They seem to have forgotten that our public schools exist to serve parents and their children, not the far-left politics of the union’s leadership. They shouldn’t be shocked that parents who feel ignored and marginalized are finally pushing back to right the ship.”
“Defaming parents as ‘extremists’ for standing up for their children is right out of Merrick Garland and Randi Weingarten’s playbook,” Laura Zorc, executive director of the parents’ rights organization Building Education for Students Together, told the Daily Caller. “New Jersey’s parents deserve better than this NJEA slander – standing up for your children is NOT a political point, it is a parent’s responsibility. The NJEA should be ashamed for pretending they care more about children than their parents.”