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Local Influence (not CRT) Shapes Curriculum


Some of the national debate surrounding education is focused on topics and buzzwords that have been misunderstood, misrepresented, or misapplied to New Jersey and/or Ramsey School District.

For instance, the hot-button topic of critical race theory is not mentioned in any version of the NJ Student Learning Standards and is not in the Ramsey curriculum. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has been around for decades in Ramsey (formerly called Character Education). We recently improved and reorganized that in line with a national award-winning program. Other topics such as the new state standards around Family Life are coming under the microscope; as has always been the case, Ramsey parents will have the opportunity to preview that curriculum and can opt not to have their children participate.

Contrary to social media legend, the Board of Education does not have carte blanche on learning standards. Ramsey is required to develop curricula to comply with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. How those standards are implemented is up to each district. Boards of Education rely on educational experts to determine the curricula that will meet state standards, as well as student and community needs. However, relying doesn’t equate to rubber-stamping.

In Ramsey, the Profile of a Ramsey Graduate, is our North Star for setting rigorous goals for each student. It culminates with mastery of content, key competencies, and skills. Borne of community input, it brought us together just a few years ago and should continue to unite and guide us.

In addition to rigorous curriculum and innovative instruction, we give students the tools and environments they need to hone critical thinking skills. We are preparing them for their futures, not the futures today’s adults prepared for so long ago.

If you feel the curriculum is overstepping our mission, I invite you to share your concerns directly. Only by having open and honest dialogue will we separate fact vs. fiction and make our district the best it can be. We need to unite behind not only the community-driven graduate profile, but our long-standing commitment to excellence in our schools.