The New Jersey State Board of Education (NJSBE) has made a significant decision by approving an equity policy that includes the use of gender-neutral language. The purpose of this policy is to guarantee equal access to educational activities and programs for students of all races, sexual orientations, sexes, and gender identities.
Public Response to Language Changes
After a narrow vote of six to five, the NJSBE has agreed to replace terms like ‘minority, female, and male’ with ‘all students.’ This switch has faced opposition from certain advocates of parents’ rights, who expressed their dissatisfaction during a meeting. However, despite their objections, the majority ultimately voted in favor of the changes.
Statement from Governor Phil Murphy
Governor Phil Murphy’s office has released a statement emphasizing that the equity policy has been protecting students based on their sexual orientation and gender identity since its establishment in 2003. The policy is required to be reviewed and approved every seven years.
The NJ Managing For [Equality and] Equity in Education Policy
The NJ Managing For [Equality and] Equity in Education policy ensures a fair and impartial environment, offering equal access to educational activities and programs for all students. Its main goal is to provide all students, regardless of their background or identity, with the opportunity to achieve the curriculum’s objectives.
Definition of Gender Identity or Expression
According to the NJSBE, gender identity or expression is perceived as having a gender-related identity, irrespective of an individual’s assigned sex at birth.
Addressing Public Concerns
During the public comment period, a concerned parent raised the issue of gender being removed from the policy and its potential impact on children’s education in New Jersey. The NJSBE responded by explaining that the removal of gendered nouns and pronouns does not exclude girls as a protected class.
In conclusion, the New Jersey State Board of Education has approved an equity policy promoting gender-neutral language and ensuring equal opportunities for all students. Despite opposition, the majority voted in favor of these changes. The policy’s focus on inclusivity and fairness demonstrates the board’s commitment to creating an impartial educational environment for every student.