Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

LGBT History Coming to California Classrooms

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

LGBT History Coming to California Classrooms

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO - After multiple delays, California education officials are moving to comply with the nation's first law requiring public schools to include prominent gay people and LGBT rights milestones in history classes. A curriculum outline scheduled to be reviewed by the State Board of Education on Thursday would introduce the concepts in second grade through discussions about diverse families and again in fourth grade with lessons on California's place in the gay rights movement.

The proposed outline also touches on the topics in fifth and eighth grade - looking at gender roles in the 18th and 19th centuries and examples of individuals who flouted them - and throughout high school.

A capstone of sorts would come in U.S. government courses, where seniors would learn about the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide and recent court cases involving bathroom access for transgender students.

The changes are designed to satisfy legislation passed by California lawmakers five years ago that added LGBT Americans and people with disabilities to the list of social and ethnic groups whose contributions schools are supposed to teach and must appear in K-8 textbooks.

The legislation, known as SB 48, also prohibited the adoption of any classroom materials that reflect adversely on gays or particular religions.

The law officially took effect in January 2012, but its implementation was slowed by two failed attempts by opponents to overturn it, budget cuts that put work on drafting recommendations for the school board and textbook purchases on hold, and competing educational priorities.

Carolyn Laub, a consultant for a group for LGBT parents called Our Family Coalition, said that while some school districts and individual teachers made their own efforts to incorporate gay history since the law passed, many were nervous about tackling the topic without explicit guidance from the state.

"Many, many educators are waiting for this framework to know, This is the content I'm supposed to be including,' Laub said. …

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