Campaign rhetoric over sex education heats up New Jersey’s gubernatorial race

August 21, 2021 ☼ gopliesnew-jersey

Source: POLITICO - Link

There‘s no law or policy in New Jersey that mandates teaching kindergartners about sex acts. But in the heat of the gubernatorial campaign, a casual observer might believe there is.

Some Republicans have recently conflated two laws that require teaching about diversity and historical contributions of LGTBQ people with new sex education curriculum requirements for middle-schoolers, sometimes going as far as to claim or imply that New Jersey’s youngest school children are being taught about sexual acts.

“Phil Murphy has mandated that kindergartners and elementary school students be taught about explicit sexual acts,” Republican State Committee Executive Director Tom Szymanski said in a radio interview last Saturday with New Jersey Globe’s David Wildstein.

Szymanski emphasized the point: “Kindergartners, David.”

What started as a refrain among socially conservative activists last winter has worked its way into New Jersey’s gubernatorial campaign as some Republicans — including GOP nominee Jack Ciattarelli and his running mate, former state Sen. Diane Allen, and their allies — have keyed in on some social issues to portray the policies of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, an unabashed progressive, as out of step with mainstream voters.

The controversy is reminiscent of the national fight over “critical race theory,” a college-level framework many activists have equated with K-12 curriculum that teaches about the effects of racism.

This kind of innuendo and outright lies in messaging is typical of both parties, but the GOP seems to have perfected it.