Remember all the arm-flapping in the debate over marriage equality about how the school system would next be required to “teach gay marriage” to kids if same-sex couples were allowed to marry? Whatever the hell “teach gay marriage” is supposed to mean?
Well, it’s not quite “teach gay marriage,” but the California State Assembly has passed a bill that says the public school system is required to include LGBT history in its curriculum.
California already requires public schools to teach the contributions made to society by women and by racial and ethnic groups that were historically discriminated against, such as blacks, Latinos and Native Americans.
Supporters of the latest bill said it would simply include gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender individuals in that existing requirement, making it part of the curriculum in history and other social studies classes.
Teaching the contributions of invisible minorities in history lessons is not quite the same thing as teaching the contributions of women and people of color, but, you know, it’s still not a bad idea to point out that queer people do exist, they’ve always been around, and some have done some very important things in our world’s history.
So, is it any surprise that this bill had zero support from the GOP?
California Assemblyman Donald Wagner is one of the Republicans who opposed the state’s bill requiring teaching about the accomplishments of gays and lesbians.
“Writing these provisions into textbooks will further an agenda rather than teach facts,” Wagner said. “When we do things, we politicize them because that’s the nature of politics. We should leave education to the educators.”
I’m getting a little pronoun confusion here. I think he means that whatever politicians do is automatically politicized, so…how is that the same thing as furthering an agenda rather than teaching facts? Is it “furthering an agenda” to teach school kids about what happened to Alan Turing? Would it be perfectly non-political and non-biased to teach history as though alternate sexuality and heterosexist prejudice never affected anyone’s life choices and never influenced culture or the law?
By “leave education to the educators,” does that mean there should be no legislation at all on what gets taught in schools? What’s your position on creationism in Biology education, Mr. Wagner? What’s your take on school kids learning about the religious affiliations of the Founding Fathers (read: mostly Deist or agnostic)? What are your thoughts on sex ed? By allowing parents to opt their kids out of sex ed, but not any other subject, are we politicizing the fact of teen sexuality? And if so, do you object to that?
They’re now waiting for Gov. Brown to sign or veto the bill.