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Senator Mike Doherty Senator Mike Doherty (R-23)
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Contact: Erin Darreff / (609) 847-3600
June 25, 2020
Doherty Reiterates Opposition to Using Politically Correct Standards for Selecting School Textbooks

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Says Ridiculous State Mandates Dilute Ability of Schools to Teach Fundamentals

During today’s meeting of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Mike Doherty (R-23) expressed his opposition to legislation that would force school districts to buy textbooks from vendors on a list approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) due to their incorporation of “inclusive material.”

Sen. Mike Doherty opposed legislation that would force school districts to buy textbooks from vendors on a list approved by the NJDOE due to their incorporation of ‘inclusive material.’ (Flickr)

“Our state spends too much time trying to incorporate identity politics into our curriculum, and too little ensuring that all of our students are proficient in the basics of reading, writing, science, and math when they graduate,” said Doherty. “The simple fact is a math textbook should teach math, a chemistry textbook should teach chemistry. A publisher that produces a textbook that effectively teaches those topics shouldn’t be barred for failing to reach some bureaucrat’s vague standard for ‘inclusive materials.’”

The legislation, S-1512, is sponsored by Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29) and Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31).

It requires the DOE to develop and maintain a list of textbook vendors that incorporate inclusive material in their textbooks and to distribute the list to school districts and make the list publicly available on the department’s website.

“Inclusive material” as defined in the bill means “content in a textbook that accurately portrays the diversity of society, in such areas as gender, race, ethnicity, disability, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation.”

Under the bill, when a school district determines to acquire a new textbook, the district will be required to select the textbook from a vendor that is included on the department’s list.

Doherty said school districts and parents should have the power to select the textbooks used in their classrooms.

“We’re not doing our children any favors by diluting their textbooks with someone’s idea of political correctness,” Doherty added. “Perhaps if our schools didn’t have to spend so much time complying with ridiculous state mandates, they could actually focus on teaching the fundamentals, which would prevent so many of our college students from having to take remedial classes to learn things they should already know.”

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