(TRENTON) – The full Assembly recently approved legislation (A-4454) to require New Jersey school districts to incorporate instruction on diversity and inclusion into an appropriate place in the curriculum of students in ninth through twelfth grades. The vote tally was 52-10-10.
The lessons would highlight and promote diversity, including economic diversity, equity, inclusion, tolerance and belonging in connection with gender and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disabilities and religious tolerance. Studies would examine the impact that unconscious bias and economic disparities have at both an individual level and on society as a whole. The lessons would also encourage safe, welcoming and inclusive environments for all students regardless of race or ethnicity, sexual and gender identities, mental and physical disabilities or religious beliefs.
The Commissioner of Education would provide school districts with sample learning activities and resources designed to promote diversity and inclusion. Students would begin learning this curriculum in the 2021-2022 school year.
The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Carol Murphy (D-Burlington), Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) and Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon) released the following joint statement:
“High schools in New Jersey reflect the rich diversity of our state. In health and physical education classes, students are taught to respect their individual and cultural differences to build healthy relationships both in and out of the classroom. The natural next step is to promote diversity, tolerance and respect for all. These are values students will take with them long after they graduate.”
The measure now goes to the Senate for further review.