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California to Require Gay History in Public Schools

California Wants to Require LGBT History in the Classroom

Adding to laws requiring schools to teach historical contributions of women and various racial and ethnic groups, California's state assembly passed a bill this week that would make lessons on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people mandatory in public schools. If California's governor does not veto the bill, the state will become the first in the US to require LGBT curriculum in social studies classrooms. At least one state, Tennessee, has proposed the opposite: banning the teaching of homosexuality before high school.

The California bill, which also includes a mandate to discuss historically significant people with disabilities, prohibits teaching anything that reflects adversely on gays. Supporters hope including positive gay contributions to history in textbooks and lesson plans will help decrease bullying of gay students and present all kids with a more accurate version of America's past. Those covered in the classroom may include people like George Washington's crucial military adviser Friedrich von Steuben, who fled the country when he was outed as gay.

While some opponents call the bill well-intentioned but ill-conceived, others have gone as far as accusing it of promoting a "homosexual agenda." Republican lawmaker Tim Donnelly said, "I think it's one thing to say that we should be tolerant. It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good."

Do you think requiring public schools to touch on the contributions of gays and lesbians will decrease bullying and improve eduction? Or do you believe teachers and administrators should decide their own curriculum, even if that means some people get left out?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 5 years
This is the only weird part: "prohibits teaching anything that reflects adversely on gays." I'd be curious, let's say a gay politician moved a very important piece of legislature forward but was found to be corrupt in some way. Are they only allowed to teach the good about said politician? That seems like an odd piece of the law.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 5 years
I think they should focus on teaching them to read and write, and practical skills that they can use. I think THAT is long overdue. As far as decreasing bullying, I strongly doubt that will happen. Attitudes and behaviors are shaped at home, not at the school. If you grow up in a racist household, a few lectures during Black History month are probably not going to change your outlook much. Sorry, but I think that is true. Although I appreciate the intent, I am sick of lawmakers spending my tax dollars coming up with these bills, when they should be using their time to find money to FUND the schools. If you are an individual teacher and want to give a lecture on famous LGBT contributors to history, fine, but do we really need another unenforcable law? Pointless.
Venus1 Venus1 5 years
This is so overdue.
dyemysoul dyemysoul 5 years
As Tim Donnelly said, "I think it's one thing to say that we should be tolerant. It is something else altogether to say that my children are going to be taught that this lifestyle is good." I am tolerant but I won't teach my children that it's acceptable. I guess it is good that my children are in Catholic Schools rather than public. I'm probably going to be called homophobic etc. for saying this but it's what I believe. People cannot choose being black or white, that is a fact.
stephley stephley 5 years
I don’t see anything threatening in teaching children that people in the LGBT community have made important contributions to our country and state. That’s hardly recruiting them to a gay agenda - I’ve never heard of a kid becoming black because of Black History Month, or boys becoming girls because we sound so cool in Women’s History Month. Before last year’s controversy over what to include in history textbooks, I wouldn’t have thought a law like this was necessary, but because of that, I do.
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