California Mandates Additional Attention to LGBT Contributions in Public Schools

Oct 16, 2017 by

California’s K-12 students will be learning more about the contributions of the LGBT community in the public-school curriculum as early as this fall. The California Board of Education recently voted in favor of a new History-Social Science Framework that builds on the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education of 2012, which requires a more comprehensive representation of the LGBT community in school curricula.“The scholars, LGBT advocates, educators, and students who were pushing for these changes wanted to make sure that there weren’t just token mentions of Harvey Milk and Stonewall in 11th grade,” said Don Romesburg, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Sonoma State University. “We knew that, both for the sake of historical accuracy and for student education and school climate, it was important that all students learn about LGBT lives and history in elementary, through middle, and into high school.”

Under the new framework, references to the LGBT community will be woven into the existing curriculum, Romesburg said. Students will start learning about the LGBT community as part of family diversity as early as second grade. In fourth grade, Harvey Milk and other LGBT activists will be introduced, and in high school, the students’ work will continue to integrate LGBT contributions. This will finally culminate in 11th-grade U.S. history, which will now include references to the fight for LGBT equality.

The new framework is the product of the FAIR Education Act, which required that LGBT Americans and people with disabilities be added to the list of social and ethnic groups, such as women, immigrants, minorities, and individuals of diverse religious backgrounds, whose contributions schools must include in the curriculum. However, when the law was originally enacted, it was not accompanied by explicit guidance from the state for educators to follow, nor were new textbooks created reflecting a broader focus on the LGBT community.

Source: California Mandates Additional Attention to LGBT Contributions in Public Schools – The Atlantic

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