In a state where politicians sure can’t rein in the budget or find any relief for high property taxes they are very good in a different category. Pushing social justice through a fanatical woke agenda. The latest example of this is the "preferred name" legislation that is working its way through education committees in the State Assembly.

If passed, it will mandate that all schools public or private that confer diplomas, be they high schools or institutes of higher learning, colleges and universities, must allow graduates to have their “preferred name" on a diploma, even if it’s not their legal name.

If Carl identifies as Clarissa, even though they've done nothing to legally change their name, then the school must issue a diploma in the name of Clarissa.

Was this some major problem? Or was this more liberal politicians coming up with a solution in search of a problem?

I have no issue with transgender people and if you’re an activist only reading this and nothing else that I’ve had to say you probably won’t believe that. But it’s true. Transgender people belong in our society like anyone else.

If a transgender person wants to change their name, great, do it legally if you want it on documents such as diplomas. Whatever your legal name is should be the name on such a degree. Mind you this proposed law isn’t only about transgender people.

If your legal name is William but everybody calls you Billy, then you could insist that your diploma be written out as Billy. Heck, if you have some crazy nickname, you could have that on your diploma too. And proponents of this measure say because the transcripts are legal documents that back up a diploma and those will have the person‘s legal name that this diploma business won’t really matter.

Diploma tied with brown ribbon beige on background

But you know what does matter? Clear communication. And issuing diplomas under gender identifying names or nicknames or anything else is not communicating clearly.

True story. One of my children attends a school (and no names will be given here) where there is a student who identifies as a cat. While this sounds like something from some myth busting site like Snopes it is not. It’s well-known by students there that this particular student identifies as a cat. This student meows, licks pretend paws, purrs, etc.. If this student graduates TCNJ and insists they are a cat should the school be required to issue a diploma in the name of Whiskers?

This entire thing is ridiculous.

A diploma isn’t quite a legal document, but isn’t it an important document? Important enough to be taken seriously? Or should we start allowing actual legal documents with “preferred names” too? Social Security cards? Driver licenses?

“Whiskers, do you know why I pulled you over tonight?”

I give up.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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The lists below show 4-year graduation rates for New Jersey public schools for the 2020-21 school year. The statewide graduation rate fell slightly, from 91% in 2019-20 to 90.6%.

The lists, which are sorted by county and include a separate list for charter schools, also include a second graduation rate, which excludes students whose special education IEPs allow them to qualify for diplomas despite not meeting typical coursework and attendance requirements.

Columns with an asterisk or 'N' indicate there was no data or it was suppressed to protect student privacy.

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