The atmosphere in Tenafly High School’s library became tense as six school board candidates discussed the issue.
They sat next to each other when they answered a question on the forum last week, but their responses showed how fiercely divided they were.
From how sex education and racism are taught in schools to funding the campaign, it’s no surprise that Tenafly is one of many powder barrel school board races taking place across the state and country. It was clear.
Two state education orders have sparked controversy, reflecting national trends. One is the 2021 law, which requires public schools to promote themes of diversity, inclusion, and equity, and examine the impact of unconscious bias and economic inequality in society, and the 2020 Health and Physical Education Standards. is. .
At Tenafly, Matt Ackerman, Marissa Buonomo, and Michael Croce challengers Matt Ackerman, Marissa Buonomo, and Michael Croce are working together on the ‘Parental Rights’ platform.
Incumbents seeking re-election are Jocelyn Schwartz, Paula Newman and Igor Frid. The three operate independently but “fully support” each other, current board chairman Schwarz said. It also supports state curriculum mandates, such as diversity laws and changes to sex education.
““I would be offended by superintendents who want to push for highly divisive curricula or bow to mandates from the state when communities are outraged and against it,” Croce said.
Schwartz said it takes some obligations to “teach children to be adaptive, to be inclusive, and to understand humans as they grow up.” , may be the most important ever.”
The evening began with challengers criticizing incumbents for budgetary and administrative problems, and the resignation of superintendents and vice superintendents a week before the start of the school year. I quickly drew a picture of the underlying hot button problem that was driving the race.
According to the New Jersey Association of School Boards, one question asked whether political parties should play an active role in local school board elections is on the rise.
Flyers were circulated during the summer saying Tenafly Republicans were “looking” for candidates for school board elections, angering some residents.
“Left extremists are introducing critical racial theories and extreme gender ideologies into Tenafly Public Schools. Let us be part of the solution and help protect our schools and our children. Please,” the flyer said. It called for candidates to run for two open seats, with Ackermann already running.
The Tenafly Republican Club then posted the flyer on its Facebook page, defending the right of any group to recruit or support a candidate.
A spokeswoman for the New Jersey Association of School Boards said there is no law prohibiting political parties from endorsing school board candidates, but board elections should be nonpartisan. State law prohibits the designation of a political party next to a candidate’s name on a ballot, and bracketed groups may not use names that are identifiable with a political party.
In New Jersey, some Republican senators have spurred fierce competition in this year’s school board elections by accusing the state of deliberately sexualizing children and trying to instill liberal views. It took
The State Republican Establishment for the Protection of Public Education, an informal group to combat misinformation in school board races, has embraced marginal groups to influence school board races. said Michael Gottesman, who runs the New Jersey Union of
“I think state Republicans got this whole idea of custody because they see it as a way to get votes in states that are mostly blue states and that’s how they boost votes. “I think New Jersey is a microcosm of what’s going on at the national level. They’re using the same thing nationally, and the same tactics here, same tactics,” Gottesman said. I use Agenda.”
By “advancing the radical narrative,” some in-state elected Republicans overlap with MAGA Republicans.
The waves of social media campaigns, podcasts, and fundraising telethons throughout the spring and summer have blurred the line between conservative voices in education and fearful voices about what is being taught in public schools. was helpful. Many elected Democrats call it a fringe movement, but it’s energizing voters.
“Vote Bottoms Up” reads a post on the New Jersey Project website.This group is associated with blogs, podcasts and several limited liability companiess Deny state sex education and mask mandates.
That means voters need to start voting for Republican-leaning school board candidates from the bottom of the ballot, then move up to the party line of the city council or legislators. The group solicits donations from the public to support school board races across the state. The New Jersey Project PAC, a political action committee of the same name, has endorsed several “Parental Rights” candidates running for statewide boards of education, but the state’s election commission not approved by
A state Republican spokesperson did not respond to requests for information or comment about whether it was aware of the recruitment and endorsement of school board candidates by Republican-affiliated groups.
In September, the Morris County Republican Women’s Club reportedly held tickets for speeches on “education issues” by the parent rights group Moms for Liberty and the Center for Garden State Families, which opposes same-sex marriage. We held an event with
Bruty Neck and other Democratic groups have pushed not only town school board candidates, but local government and legislative candidates as well. But her Tenafly Republican Club Facebook page focuses solely on her school board campaign.
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The state’s largest teacher union, the New Jersey Education Association, has been heavily denounced for its power and financial influence by smaller groups like the New Jersey Project, but disinformation related to the state’s sex education standards and hate speech by providing “training”. candidate. The union also provided financial support to several candidates backed by local affiliates, spokesperson Stephen Baker said.
Several Republican state senators dedicate September to elections for school boards by Jersey Rising, a political action committee run by candidates who ran and lost in the congressional primary for District 7 in June. I called the fundraising telethon.
The group’s mission is to “put conservative activists behind outsider candidates in New Jersey-wide election campaigns,” and will contribute directly to school board candidates running for office in November. It’s a schedule., It said in a statement to The Record and NorthJersey.com.
Jersey Rising did not respond to a request for comment on which candidate it supports. As of Oct. 29, in a financial disclosure filed with the state’s Electoral Enforcement Commission (ELEC), the group does not list donations to specific school board races for 2022.
The State Democratic Party’s recommendation to local governments and county affiliates is not to endorse candidates in nonpartisan school elections, said its deputy chairman, Peg Schaffer. Although he is not aware of any official Democratic group actively endorsing the candidate for I got
Candidates for the Ringwood Board of Education are also divided over the curriculum. In a Jersey Rising telethon, a spokesperson for the group said her three candidates running in districts calling for parental rights called “for children” are opposing the state’s sex education mandate. said.
A “systematic attack on our family values” has continued “for decades,” the spokesperson said.
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Competing against them are three contenders under a slate called “Expect More.” NJEA PAC donated his $3,000 to the Expect More slate, according to ELEC filings.
At Tenafly, five former school board members and several residents wrote an open letter, including screenshots, showing Ackerman, Buonomo, and Croce using WinRed.com, the official donation platform for Republican candidates. claims to have been funded by This is legal, but implies partisanship.
“Voorhees Children First,” a four-member South Jersey-based school board, is also registered on the Republican-run website. A search on ActBlue, a Democratic fundraising platform, did not reveal a campaign for the New Jersey Board of Education.
At the candidate’s forum at Tenafly last Wednesday, Ackerman said his slate had raised $4,600 in campaign donations, exclusively from Tenafly and Englewood donors. He denied using WinRed.com for fundraising during a discussion with the audience after the forum. He left without answering the reporter’s question.
Croce said he was not aware of any relationship with WinRed.com.
Former school board president Phyllis Kesslen said after the forum, “There were a lot of false reports this evening. They were picked as Republican candidates. Claimed not to have, but this was not true.Our understanding is they are funded by WinRed.They claim critical racial theory is taught in the classroom. I do, but it’s not,” she said.
Misleading Campaign Materials
The challenger’s campaign website is Tenaflyboe.org, which looks like a school board URL. Although the current logo only uses the candidate’s name, some residents of the township believe that the old logo and the group’s name of “The Tenafly Board of Ed Committee” are intentionally misleading. I protested. Her Facebook page for the group also uses this name and calls itself School.
The Tenafly School Board has released an official statement.
The Tenafly School Board said, “The board is aware of campaign materials that we believe are in some way related to the board and the district.” , should not be construed as indicating any such relationship. The only official website is tenaflyschools.org.
The Tenafly Republican Club Facebook page posted that Ackerman was a candidate who could challenge the incumbent’s claims of “support” and “sexual education” for racial and gender ideologies. The post incorrectly says that the district schools teach each important racial theory. This is the theoretical construct actually taught in law school, which employs claims that have found footing in national groups and ties the CRT to discussions about systemic racism in schools.
Ackerman and Croce said they believe Tenafly schools teach CRT. The incumbent vehemently dismissed this claim, saying that teachers were simply doing their job and teaching history.
The challengers also defended their rejection of the state’s 2020 sex education standards, Newman said states could be punished for breaking the law and schools cannot choose to mandate teaching.
The Emotional Tenafly Candidate’s Forum was a lens into a nation fighting to decide how to teach children to examine their past.
Katherine Carlberg, an African-American mother and sponsor of the school’s Latino and Black Coalition, responded to dissenters’ claims that the school district taught CRT. Thing is, I’m not talking about anything revolutionary, I’m not saying black power movements take over schools, that’s his type of thing. [Ackerman] driving,” she said.