History Textbooks Rejected by California Board of Education For Lack of LGBT Content
California law compels Teaching contributions of Disabled and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people
November 24, 2017
California's Board of Education has approved ten textbooks that it has deemed "inclusive enough," and rejected two others that were not.
Banned books included one by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, one of the top textbooks producers in the United States.
According to the Los Angeles Times, "The rejected textbooks failed to abide by California's 2011 FAIR Education Act. The law, written by former state Sen. Mark Leno, requires that schools teach about historical figures who were LGBT or who had disabilities. Equality California's executive director, Rick Zbur, called the board's decision a "long-fought victory."
"Makes sense. If you don't know your LGBTQ history, you're likely to relive it," said Daniel Strayker, over a beer at Barkowski, on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica. "I say make textbooks all about LGBTQ, with nothing about straight white men, who actually did everything. And include a lot of photos of Lesbians kissing. Because, it's like, who doesn't want to see that?" he added.
In October, 2011, the group failed to collect enough signatures for the issue to be placed on a referendum in June 2012. Opponents of the bill will have other opportunities to overturn the law via a ballot initiative or a constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment option demands even more signatures and is thus more costly. The repeal campaign has been accused of exaggerating the bill's effects in order to convince people to sign petitions.
Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, also known as the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48) and informally described by media outlets as the LGBT History Bill, is a California law which compels the inclusion of the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into educational textbooks and the social studies curricula in California public schools by amending the California Education Code. It also revises the previous designation of "black Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, [and] Pacific Island people" in that list into "Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and European Americans". It would also amend an existing law by adding sexual orientation and religion into a list of characteristics (which already includes race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and disability) that schools are prohibited from sponsoring negative activities about or teaching students about in an adverse way.
In particular, according to chief author Sen. Mark Leno, it "ensures that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are accurately and fairly portrayed in instructional materials by adding LGBT people to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state's inclusionary education requirements."