California to be first state to teach LGBT history in schools
July 18, 2016
California second graders will soon learn that some families have two moms or two dads. The State Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to adopt new K-12 curricula that incorporates LGBT history into public school classes. [The Guardian]
The vote will make California the first state in the nation to teach LGBT history in schools.
In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. The law requires educators to better incorporate the LGBT community, as well as other minority groups, into history and social science curricula. The legislation took effect in 2012, but attempts to overturn the law slowed its implementation.
Following Thursday’s vote, second grade students will now have discussions about diverse families. Fourth graders will learn about California’s role in the gay rights movement.
Additions to the fifth and eight grade curricula will include lessons on gender roles in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as on individuals who defied them. In high school, U.S. government students will begin studying the 2015 supreme court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. The U.S. government curriculum will also include recent court cases involving transgender bathroom laws.
The FAIR Education Act also requires educators to add lessons on historical contributions made by people with disabilities. The law prohibits textbooks or other classroom materials that reflect adversely on gays or particular religions.
LGBT groups celebrated the changes.
Opponents of the law argued parents should be the ones to decide how and and at what age to expose children to the topic of sexual orientation. Critics have also expressed concern that important historical figures would be booted from school curricula to make room for LGBT individuals.