California Curriculum to Now Include “Homosexual History”

California is the first state in the union to add a component of gay and lesbian history to its curriculum. Advocates are hailing the decision as on par with including sections on other minorities in the curriculum (African Americans, Women, Hispanics, etc). It is also part of a core-curriculum to address bullying in the LGBTQ community.

“This is definitely a step forward, and I’m hopeful that other states will follow,” said Mark Leno, California’s first openly gay state senator, who sponsored the bill. “We are failing our students when we don’t teach them about the broad diversity of human experience.”

“There is an increasing awareness in the public and among elected officials that we have to do something to address the problems of bullying, and the negative consequences” for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, said Carolyn Laub, director of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Still, the decision is not without controversy. Opponents of the addition to the curriculum state that its furthering a ‘homosexual agenda’ in public schools and equate the curriculum change with a legislative form of morality.

“It’s a sad day for our republic when we have the government essentially telling people what they should think,” said Tim Donnelly, a Republican state assemblyman from San Bernadino. Mr. Donnelly said the law prohibited schools from presenting gays and lesbians “in anything other than a positive light, and I think that’s censorship right there.”

As an educator, I think that this is excellent news. We should broaden the perspective and experiences that we present to students as they are developing and coming up with this connected, global community. Additionally, I always find it troubling when lawmakers disagree with providing students information and allowing them to make informed decisions – I also see nothing in the curriculum that requires only ‘positive’ views of homosexual individuals who, like all human beings, are complex creatures with flaws.

To read more about this story, check out the New York Times.

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10 thoughts on “California Curriculum to Now Include “Homosexual History”

  1. thunderjunk

    I’m a little shocked but then not really surprised that a group somewhere out there found a reason to be outraged by this.
    Although I suppose if every other minority gets to have their special niche in the educational systems us gays ought to carve a place out somewhere as well.

    Reply
  2. Jim Wheeler

    You stated it well, Jennifer, when you said,

    I always find it troubling when lawmakers disagree with providing students information and allowing them to make informed decisions – I also see nothing in the curriculum that requires only ‘positive’ views of homosexual individuals who, like all human beings, complex creatures with flaws.

    To emphasize your point, I submit that the recent massive moral failure in the Atlanta school system is stark evidence that knowledge should not be force-fed, nor structured by some central authority, but simply presented. And in my opinion, that goes for religion as well as government.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      Whether it’s the issue of evolution, sex-ed, or issues of personal morality, I don’t understand why there is a fear of the information. It’s reminiscent of the battle Galileo fought with the church over a helio-centric solar system. The information isn’t dangerous and the more data available is a good thing. We all need the context with which to make solid decisions.
      I believe that I don’t teach the information per se, but I try to give children the ability to *reason* with the information provided – what is solid evidence, what is questionable, what are the goals we are trying to meet, what problems are we trying to solve, etc.
      Keeping children (and adults) in ignorance does not promote morality or ethical decision making.

      Reply
      1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

        You are too kind.
        I am keenly aware that I am very lucky to have my school. 🙂

  3. Tim Freud

    “I always find it troubling when lawmakers disagree with providing students information and allowing them to make informed decisions”

    –I agree completely; that quote from Donnelly is frightening. Equating the idea of providing a complex history of oppressed people with the government “essentially” telling people what to think is such garbage.

    Such fear-mongering is always the result of some fear of a ridiculous slippery slope–‘If we tell children about the gays, they might accept gays as human beings! If they accept gays as human beings, they might *choose* to become gay! If they choose to become gay, there will be a moral decline the likes of which will include pansexuality and marijuana!’

    Censorship is never the answer–I think you’re absolutely right in saying there should be information available *instead* of censoring the information at the outset based on quasi-irrational axiomatic beliefs.

    Reply

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