NJEA President Sean Spiller is using the NJEA’s well-bought influence with Gov. Murphy and the Democratic legislature to try to turn the State Board of Education (SBOE) into a thoroughly “progressive” policymaker. But how does this benefit teachers? It doesn’t, which is likely why Spiller published his op-ed on a news website but not on the NJEA’s website. Sure looks like it’s more about Spiller’s progressive bona fides, not teachers’ interests.
Spiller recently wrote an op-ed in NJSpotlight News calling for the confirmation of six new SBOE members who are currently before the state Senate. Spiller declared that the board members to be replaced have been “problematic” because they resisted the state’s controversial sex ed guidelines that have stirred up so much rancor and division. Spiller wants them out so the SBOE can freely implement the NJEA’s vision of a progressive agenda.
Since Spiller’s op-ed did not detail the NJEA’s progressive agenda, here are a few items:
- publicly supporting the Attorney General’s lawsuits against four school districts’ mandatory parental notification policies;
- attacking the Hanover school board directly over its mandatory notification policy;
- providing teachers with a “Back to School Checklist” that called for birth-gender boys to be allowed to play on girls’ sports teams and to use girls’ bathrooms; and
- providing training for teachers to advocate for truly radical sex ed policies, including teaching about gender identity in grades 1-5.
Every one of these positions is opposed by strong majorities of New Jersey citizens and parents, according to a recent Monmouth poll.
So why is the head of the state’s largest teachers union advocating for a SBOE that would promulgate policies that are opposed by a large majorities New Jerseyans? We thought the purpose of a teachers union is to look out for the best interests of teachers. How does pushing deeply unpopular progressive policies at the SBOE benefit teachers?
Maybe that’s why Spiller chose to publish his op-ed on news website but not on the NJEA website. Spiller’s previous op-ed was published on the NJEA website, but not this one. Maybe teachers aren’t the intended audience. Given Spiller’s penchant for using teachers’ dues to further his personal political career, maybe Spiller is showing off his progressive bona fides for some future run for political office.
Which brings us back to Murphy and the legislature. The NJEA has spent tens of millions of teachers’ dues to support Murphy and key Democrats in the legislature, so now Spiller wants another quid pro quo. Per NJEdReport, the NJEA clearly influenced Murphy’s nomination of several nominees, so now they want to close the deal.
We know that a SBOE that promulgates deeply unpopular progressive policies would not be in the best interests of NJ citizens and parents. So how is it in the best interests of teachers, President Spiller?