The state's mandated LGBTQ inclusive curriculum will be tested out in 12 schools this month.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law nearly a year ago a measure that requires school districts to include instruction and materials that "accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."

The law went into effect immediately but will apply to the 2020-2021 school year for the curriculum of middle and high schools.

The 12 schools to teach the pilot program through June of this year:

  • Asbury Park: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School
  • Hackensack: Bergen Arts and Science Charter Middle School
  • Haddon Heights: Haddon Heights Junior-Senior High School
  • Highland Park: Highland Park School
  • Millburn: Millburn Middle School
  • Morristown: Unity Charter School
  • Newark: Newark Arts High School
  • Rumson: Forrestdale School
  • Somers Point: Chartertech High School for the Performing Arts
  • Tuckerton: Pinelands Regional Junior High School

Several schools not in the pilot program will still have access to the lesson plans but will not have a curriculum coach or professional development training. Those schools were not named.

The intent of the law is to include instruction and readings that "accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people." Examples include women who dressed as men while fighting in the Civil War, the anti-communist Lavender Scare of the 1950s, the debate over the adoption and repeal of the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy and marriage equality.

The lesson plans "will teach the next generation of youth about the political, social, and economic contributions of LGBTQ people. And this isn’t just history class: We’ve developed lessons that promote inclusion across all relevant subject areas," according to Garden State Equality, which worked with the groups Make It Better for Youth, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Shore Area NOW, and the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice to develop the curriculum.

The pilot program of 45 lessons will be taught in 12 schools selected from 50 schools that had applied and will be taught in grades 5,6, 8, 10 and 12.

A second set of 60 lesson plans will be released focusing on New Jersey-specific LGBTQ figures and historical moments such as Babs Siperstein, Marsha P. Johnson, and movements to secure pro-LGBTQ protections in New Jersey.

The schools involved with the pilot will participate in data collection and analysis, development of engaging lessons across all subject areas, a statewide educators conference, curriculum coaches who will answer questions and evaluate teachers presenting classes along with ongoing professional development training.

 

New Jersey along with California, Colorado and Illinois require LGBTQ curriculum be taught in public schools.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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