Gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people would be added to the lengthy list of social and ethnic groups that public schools must include in social studies lessons under a landmark bill passed Thursday by the California Senate.
If the bill is adopted by the state Assembly and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, California would become the first state to require the teaching of gay history.
Supporters say the move is needed to counter anti-gay stereotypes and beliefs that make children in those groups vulnerable to bullying and suicide.
Opponents counter that such instruction would further burden an already crowded curriculum and expose students to a subject that some parents find objectionable.
The legislation, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, passed on a 23-14 party line vote. It also would add disabled people to the curriculum.
The bill gives school districts flexibility in deciding what to include in the lessons and at what grades students would receive them.
But starting in the 2013-14 school year, it would prohibit districts and the California Board of Education from using textbooks or other instructional materials that reflect adversely on gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
There are policies that we could pass that would promote school choice and homeschooling, like voucher programs. The public sector unions oppose school choice laws, because they do not want parents to have a choice of what their children will learn. Vote smart – don’t vote for Democrats.