In the 15-second ad, one of two self-promotional ads created by the New Jersey Education Association, the union promises a “world-class education” but it pivots to ominously warn about “extremists…attacking our schools” and harming public education.
The ad, in fact, changes from smiling teachers and happy school kids to black-and-white photos (pictured at top) of scowling, angry, dangerous-looking adults who appear to be shouting down school leaders at school board meetings.
“People who only want to fight to score political points,” the ad audaciously says of parents, “should take that somewhere else.”
In a lengthy statement to AFN, the New Jersey teachers’ union says media coverage of its two TV ads has “badly misrepresented their purpose and content,” when the ads make it “clear” the union believes in the “important role that parents play.”
And that seems mostly true in one ad, a 30-second one called “Best Schools” that features smiling, happy children from beginning until the end. That ad begins by crediting parents for working with educators to help New Jersey achieve accolades for its public school system. Just like its 15-second version the second half of that ad pivots, too, and blames “extremists and certain politicians” for attempting to “tear down our educators” and for “attacking our public schools.”
But their efforts won’t succeed, the ad says. “We’ll stand together,” the teachers’ union vows, “and keep New Jersey’s public schools the best in the nation.”
Responding to the 15-second ad, Tina Descovich of Moms for Liberty calls it “inflammatory” for its portrayal of concerned parents and says it should be taken down. It is clear in the ad how the union views people who disagree, she tells AFN, so the teachers’ union is pitting concerned parents against school teachers.
"It kind of just says the quiet part out loud,” she observes, “in an ad for the whole state to see.”
Moms for Liberty, which was co-founded by Descovich in 2021, can trace its beginning to irate parents who began appearing before school boards in recent years to push back on left-wing indoctrination of their own children. Many of those parents, who had never attended such a meeting, soon learned they were viewed by liberal school leaders as unwelcomed troublemakers but their numbers kept growing and growing until they couldn’t be ignored.
According to Descovich, a mother of five who herself sat on a public school board in Florida, she witnessed upset, distressed parents argue against mask-wearing and mandatory vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their concerns were ignored by school boards and mocked by the teachers' union, she recalls.
“I watched moms leaving with tears in their eyes, frustrated and confused,” she says. “And it's just damaging that an organization as powerful and as big as a teachers union is trying to tear down moms, and tear down these relationships that really teachers and parents have built over years together."
According to the NJEA’s version of the past few years, as stated in its statement to AFN, the teachers’ union is “very concerned” by the “small but very loud group of people who are doing dishonest and dangerous things,” such as calling teachers “pedophiles and racists” when those educators are teaching lessons that are state-approved materials that are also age appropriate for the audience, the NJEA says.
The accusation about “pedophiles” appears to be a reference to the elementary school teachers who have posted TikTok videos and have been outed for their behavior on social media, such as the Twitter channel LibsofTikTok. In those videos, the teachers NJEA is defending openly brag about reading transgender-themed children’s books to their classrooms. They even squeal with delight describing how the open-minded children support their new personal pronouns and the evolution of their sexual orientation.
For such behavior those teachers have been labeled “groomers” on social media.
New Jersey itself has not been spared by LibsofTikTok, either. It reported in July that elementary students in Tenafly Public Schools have access to books on pronouns and gender identify.
According to NJEA, in its statement to AFN, demanding an elementary school remove those books from the library "limits the rights of parents who want a full, honest, well-rounded education for their children."
According to the books cited by LibsofTikTok, that "well-rounded education" includes children's books "I'm not a Girl" and "They, she, he, me: free to be" on the library shelf.