DOE: School districts that don’t follow New Jersey sex ed standards could face review

The state Department of Education is responding to school districts that do not want to update their sex education lesson plans to reflect new state standards.
The DOE says that if districts don’t follow the new rules, they could be put under monitoring and have to go through an improvement plan.
Students also could have an unexcused absence on their record if a parent does not inform the district in writing that instruction conflicts with their “moral or religious beliefs.”
The DOE says that districts are to be reminded that the new standards are mandatory.
A spokesperson for the department told News 12 New Jersey in a statement, "The New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) are mandatory for Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to implement and failure to comply can result in disciplinary action. Under N.J.S.A. 18A:35-4.7, for children to be excused from any part of instruction in health, family life, or sex education, their parent or guardian must inform the school principal in writing that the instruction conflicts with their conscience or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs."
"The New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) serves as one mechanism for the New Jersey Department of Education’s (Department) compliance monitoring and self-evaluation system for public school districts (districts). The system focuses on monitoring and evaluating districts in five core components that, based on research, have been identified as key factors in effective district operations."
"Specific indicators in each of the five areas, are self-evaluated by the district and verified by the Department. If a district scores below 80% in any of the NJQSAC areas, the district is required to create a district improvement plan to address the indicators found to be out of compliance. An assessment is made of the district’s capacity and effectiveness based on its compliance with the indicators. Following the assessment, the district is placed on a performance continuum that will determine the level of oversight, and technical assistance and support it receives in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A: 7A-10. Dependent upon the percentage of quality performance indicators a district satisfies upon review of the improvement plan, the Department may determine whether additional monitoring or intervention is warranted, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:7A-14."