Home > family, Gay and Lesbian, gay lobby, Parental Rights, Political Correctness, Politics & Marriage, Sex Education > Update: CA schools and SB 48 (LGBT history curriculum)

Update: CA schools and SB 48 (LGBT history curriculum)

September 7th, 2011

Back in July, the California legislature passed SB 48.  It mandates that all public schools must include positive discussions of the sexual orientations of transgender, bisexual, and gay Americans when teaching their contributions to history.  This includes rewriting text books and using supplemental discussion materials.

Now, a group of citizens hopes to use California’s referendum process to place an initiative on the ballot, which would allow the people of the state to decide whether this is what they want in their children’s education.  The group, StopSB48.com, says that the measure “costs too much and goes too far”.  They have until Sept. 30 to collect 750,000 signatures.

While SB 48 (titled The FAIR Education Act) was promoted as a bill to end bullying, supporters of the referendum point out that the actual bill did not mention bullying at all.  In addition, existing California law already prohibits bullying and requires schools to curb it.

Print Friendly
Be Sociable, Share!
  1. John Noe
    September 7th, 2011 at 14:46 | #1

    Here is hoping that they are successfull and that the decent people of CA can vote on this injustice the same way they voted on marriage.

  2. Sean
    September 7th, 2011 at 17:46 | #2

    The bill DOES help end bullying, by explaining to young people that being gay or lesbian is perfectly normal, and that many accomplished historical figures were gay or lesbian. That helps “normalize” being gay, and dissolves the rationale for attacking someone for being gay or lesbian.

  3. September 7th, 2011 at 19:39 | #3

    You make it sound like teachers are going to be talking about the sex lives of these people rather than the reasons we should acknowledge and appreciate them, and acknowledge and appreciate their contributions to society. Get your heads out of the gutter, already!

    http://www.eqca.org/atf/cf/%7B34f258b3-8482-4943-91cb-08c4b0246a88%7D/FAIR%20EDUCATION%20FACT%20SHEET%20FINAL.PDF

  4. Spunky
    September 7th, 2011 at 20:25 | #4

    Here’s a question (again, won’t argue anything here, just want to know): Do you think children should know about gay figures in history? If so, should their homosexuality be brought up, and if so, should there be any connotation (positive or negative) when discussing it?

    For example, Alan Turing is one of the most important figures of the 20th century–not only did he help invent the computer and contribute toward the theory of computer algorithms, but he also engineered devices that deciphered the Enigma code used by the Nazis. He was gay, and was imprisoned for having sex with a man. This led to his downfall and ostracism from society. He later took cyanide and died (most likely a suicide), but the reasons why this happened are unclear.

    How much of the above should be taught to children in elementary/middle/high school? The more answers, the better!

  5. Betsy
    September 7th, 2011 at 20:44 | #5

    Spunky, first of all, I appreciate your respectful tone in all your posts. I wish more bloggers wrote this way.

    To answer your question from my opinion, I think everything you said about Turing would be great to be taught up until the part where he was gay, imprisoned, and so on. I don’t see why that would be relevant to a history lesson. Any legitimate contribution of a figure should be taught. Their orientation is irrelevant. If we’re trying to normalize homosexuality, why should we start making the distinction? It’s like a few years ago when two black coaches had their teams going to the super bowl and everyone made a big deal about it. If we want to treat African-Americans as equals, which they are, why do we keep pointing out the fact that they’re black! It shouldn’t make any difference.

  6. Ginny
    September 7th, 2011 at 21:54 | #6

    @Spunky

    Here is my answer to your question: In high school, if the course was about computers, I’d probably just teach his accomplishments. If the course was about discrimination, mental health, human rights, ethics, etc. then I might teach the rest of his circumstances to upperclassmen.

    In middle school, however, I would just teach the computer and coding-related material. And I’m not sure that elementary school students even learn enough about the history of computing to even know who Alan Turing is.

    My objection to the law is that, under it, parents and communities (through their elected school boards) can’t make that kind of decision. It is mandated from on high that the schools must seek out “gay role models” and “present them positively”, even to kindergartners.

  7. Leo
    September 8th, 2011 at 01:38 | #7

    @Spunky

    Would you be pleased with a law that required all schools at all grade levels to seek out Catholic role models and present them positively, making special note of Catholic inventors, musicians, government leaders, etc.? A strong case could be made for it. Professor Philip Jenkins argues at length in The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice that anti-Catholicism, something with a long history in America, is alive and well. He argues that the media, while usually painstaking in their efforts not to offend members of any racial, religious or gender category, consistently make one major exception-the Roman Catholic Church, and that offenses against Catholics are rarely censored and almost never considered hate crimes.

    And if Catholics should be presented as positive role models at all grades levels, then surely Jews and other religious minorities with a history of discrimination could make a similar case. Then each ethnic, racial, or cultural group could demand their special treatment. Illegal immigrants (mainly Hispanic Catholics in California) are especially vulnerable. They can be deported and their family members separated by vast distances. Surely they can demand that the historical contributions of undocumented immigrants (and there are vast numbers of them) should be positively highlighted. Is there any end to this?

  8. Bob Barnes
    September 8th, 2011 at 11:15 | #8

    Justice will prevail. The courts will undo the harm of the superstitious.

  9. September 8th, 2011 at 12:02 | #9

    @Spunky Since his sexual behavior had nothing to do with his accomplishments, what do we care what he did in his bedroom? Homosexualists are always telling us to stay out of their bedroom and yet they want us all to know what it is they do!

  10. Ruth
    September 8th, 2011 at 15:36 | #10

    @Glenn E. Chatfield
    Yes…that lovely word:”Privacy”
    We would have it by the super-tanker load, please.

  11. Spunky
    September 8th, 2011 at 20:46 | #11

    Thanks everyone for your opinions! I owe you all my opinion as well.

    My opinion is that it all could and should be taught to children of all ages (possible exception: I might not teach little children that the British government forced Turing to take female hormones–kids probably wouldn’t understand that). I definitely feel that people of all ages should learn about important historical figures and their homosexuality. I’d be fine with the state mandating this kind of teaching, but I admit not knowing whether such a mandate is constitutional or not.

    @Leo My answer to your question is two-fold.

    1) If Catholics really are oppressed the way Jenkins says, then I believe schools should make a point of stressing important Catholic figures and the good aspects of Catholicism. However, I think this already exists. Most people who have been educated in public schools know about Catholicism and Catholic role models (Mother Teresa springs to mind as the best role model ever). So there already exists positive teaching about Catholicism (as there should). I think something analogous should be done with homosexuality (and every minority with a history of oppression, including immigrants).

    2) Clearly not every minority will have equal representation, but if certain figures are important to history (especially American history), our children should learn about them. The proposal Emma linked to gives the impression that gay figures in history, along with their homosexuality, are underrepresented in public school teaching.

    Betsy :
    Spunky, first of all, I appreciate your respectful tone in all your posts. I wish more bloggers wrote this way.

    I’m glad to hear it. The feeling is mutual.

  12. Leo
    September 10th, 2011 at 08:46 | #12

    @Spunky

    Fair enough, but who determines which minority groups underrepresented in the curriculum? Does only one minority group get to be so privileged?

  13. Sean
    September 10th, 2011 at 11:04 | #13

    “It is mandated from on high that the schools must seek out “gay role models” and “present them positively”, even to kindergartners.”

    Why is this a problem?

  14. bman
    September 10th, 2011 at 11:54 | #14

    Spunky are you for allowing ex-gays to have equal time?

  15. Spunky
    September 10th, 2011 at 16:19 | #15

    @Leo For your first question, I’m actually not sure who does decide these things (the state government, I guess, maybe the national government too to an extent?). As for your second question, according to Emma’s link,

    “Existing law requires social sciences instructions of both men and women, black
    Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, Pacific Island people, and other
    ethnic groups to the economic, political, and social development of California and the
    United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the role of these
    groups in contemporary society. Current law prohibits instruction or schoolsponsored activities that reflect adversely upon persons because of their race, sex,
    color, creed, ability, national origin, or ancestry.

    “Current law also prohibits the adoption of instructional materials that reflect
    negatively on any person because of their race, sex, color, creed, disability, national
    origin or ancestry. It also requires schools and governing boards to include only
    instructional materials that, in their determination, accurately portray the cultural
    and racial diversity of our society. ”

    So the answer to your second question is no, because law requires several minority groups to be represented in a school’s curriculum. As for how they came up with those minority groups, I would imagine it is because 1) they are important to American history, and 2) they have a history of being subject to hatred and/or intolerance, which often stem(s) from ignorance, among other things. Of course that last sentence is just pure speculation on my part.

  16. Spunky
    September 10th, 2011 at 18:52 | #16

    bman :
    Spunky are you for allowing ex-gays to have equal time?

    I don’t understand what you mean. Equal time for what?

  17. September 11th, 2011 at 05:54 | #17

    @Sean A good role model cannot be sexually immoral. A good role model is one whose whole life is worth modeling. Sexual immorality immediately disqualifies a person from being a good role model. And homosexual behavior is about as immoral sexually as it gets.

  18. Spunky
    September 11th, 2011 at 19:27 | #18

    Glenn E. Chatfield :
    @Sean And homosexual behavior is about as immoral sexually as it gets.

    Are you including rape, pedophilia, bestiality, and adultery in your list of immoral sexual behavior? Or do you mean immoral sexually given that both parties consent? Even then, isn’t adultery worse? I mean, it’s against one of the Ten Commandments…

  19. September 12th, 2011 at 16:24 | #19

    @Spunky Homosexual behavior is called an abomination by God. I’d say it ranks with bestiality, since both are abuses of human sexuality and use the human body for other than which it was designed. Rape isn’t sexual immorality – it is a crime (and, of course, all crime is immoral). Homosexual pedophilia is worse than adult homosexuality because it takes advantage of a child. Heterosexual pedophilia is at least proper biologically, even though it is a crime – and where it isn’t a crime it is immoral. Any sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage is immoral. So, in your list, I’d rank it about equal with bestiality.

  20. Spunky
    September 12th, 2011 at 20:35 | #20

    Glenn E. Chatfield :
    @Spunky Since his sexual behavior had nothing to do with his accomplishments, what do we care what he did in his bedroom? Homosexualists are always telling us to stay out of their bedroom and yet they want us all to know what it is they do!

    Late response to Glenn (no hard feelings I hope)! Alan Turing and his homosexuality are both worth discussing because 1) he one of the most valuable figures in recent human history who 2) was a member of a minority (gay people), and 3) whose life was ruined (and possibly ended) because he was a member of said minority. It’s a good way to learn about both Turing and the persecution of gay people, both of which are important for students to learn.

    It’s not so much “what he did in his bedroom” (I don’t want to know his sexual positions any more than you do) or even who he dated, but that he was part of a minority group who we quite frankly haven’t learned much about in school (at least I didn’t). It is well-established that black, Jews, Christians, Mexicans, Native Americans, and others have contributed significantly to American history. It would be nice for the country to know about the contributions of gay Americans as well.

  21. Spunky
    September 13th, 2011 at 06:45 | #21

    Glenn E. Chatfield :
    @Spunky Homosexual behavior is called an abomination by God. I’d say it ranks with bestiality, since both are abuses of human sexuality and use the human body for other than which it was designed. Rape isn’t sexual immorality – it is a crime (and, of course, all crime is immoral). Homosexual pedophilia is worse than adult homosexuality because it takes advantage of a child. Heterosexual pedophilia is at least proper biologically, even though it is a crime – and where it isn’t a crime it is immoral. Any sexual behavior outside of heterosexual marriage is immoral. So, in your list, I’d rank it about equal with bestiality.

    Thanks for clarifying, Glenn. Why are immorality and crime mutually exclusive?

  22. September 13th, 2011 at 16:34 | #22

    @Spunky Crime IS immorality. I differentiated between sexual immorality and other crime. Sexual immorality in and of itself is usually not criminal.

  23. September 13th, 2011 at 16:34 | #23

    @Spunky Again, his sexual behavior has no bearing on his accomplishments. We should not have to focus on his sexual proclivities.

Comments are closed.