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  1. #1
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    CA Schools Curriculum: Inclusive of Historical Accomplishments of Gay Men & Lesbians

    http://www.turnto23.com/news/28481175/detail.html

    A bill to require California public schools to teach the historical accomplishments of gay men and lesbians passed the state Legislature on Tuesday in what supporters call a first for the nation.

    The bill would require California textbooks to highlight the contributions of homosexuals in history. But some say it is going too far.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/us/16schools.html
    While the bill does not set specific requirements about what should be taught to students, it does say that contributions of gays and lesbians in the state and country must be included in social science instruction. So Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the state, and Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist, may take a prominent place in the state’s history books.

    Advocates say that teaching about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in schools would prevent bullying and shatter stereotypes that some students may harbor. They point to several students who have committed suicide after being taunted by peers for being gay. But the bill has drawn vociferous criticism from opponents who argue that when and how to talk about same-sex relationships should be left to parents.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Educati...ory-in-schools

    The 325,000-member California Teachers Association supports SB 48. “We believe that school curriculum materials should adequately portray the diversity of our society ... [and the bill] doesn’t impose an undue burden,” says spokesperson Mike Myslinski.
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    My first reaction is mixed. I'm not sure I'm crazy about historical topics being mandated by the state.

    On the other hand, I taught at a California university for a number of years and I used to assign Emily Mann's Execution of Justice, a play about the trial of Dan White, who assassinated Harvey Milk and George Mosconi. It made sense because it's an excellent work and about half my students were from the Bay Area. I don't believe I ever had a single San Francisco student who even knew there had ever been a murder of the city's mayor and a city council member. That's just wrong.

  3. #3
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    My first reaction is mixed. I'm not sure I'm crazy about historical topics being mandated by the state.

    On the other hand, I taught at a California university for a number of years and I used to assign Emily Mann's Execution of Justice, a play about the trial of Dan White, who assassinated Harvey Milk and George Mosconi. It made sense because it's an excellent work and about half my students were from the Bay Area. I don't believe I ever had a single San Francisco student who even knew there had ever been a murder of the city's mayor and a city council member. That's just wrong.
    I'd like more information about the curriculum proposed myself - but I'm not finding it.

    From what I'm reading, the pressure is coming from advocacy that teaching civil rights should include gay civil rights & examples thereof.

    Also, the idea the social studies & history curriculum should not exclude examples of positive role models from LGBT history.
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  4. #4
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    http://www.lambda.org/famous.htm
    Famous GLB People in History You're in Good Company!

    "Within the typical secondary school curriculum, homosexuals do not exist. They are 'nonpersons' in the finest Stalinist sense. They have fought no battles, held no offices, explored nowhere, written no literature, built nothing, invented nothing and solved no equations. The lesson to the heterosexual student is abundantly clear: homosexuals do nothing of consequence. To the homosexual student, the message has even greater power: no one who has ever felt as you do has done anything worth mentioning." -Gerald Unks, editor, The Gay Teen, p. 5.

    Alexander the Great
    *Macedonian Ruler, 300 B.C.
    Socrates
    *Greek Philosopher, 400 B.C.
    Sappho
    *Greek Woman Poet, 600 B.C.
    Hadrian
    *Roman Emperor, 1st-2nd c.
    Richard the Lionhearted
    *English King, 12th c.
    Saladin
    *Sultan of Egypt and Syria
    Desiderius Erasmus
    *Dutch Monk, Philosopher
    Francis Bacon
    *English statesman, author
    Frederick the Great
    *King of Prussia
    Lord Byron
    *English poet, 18th c.
    Walt Whitman
    *U.S. poet, author, 19th c.
    Oscar Wilde
    *Irish author, 19th c.
    <snipped>
    See link for list of approx 100 names you'd recognize from your old history books.
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  5. #5
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    gay rights history info - see link for full history.

    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gen...s-Movement.htm
    In 1779, Thomas Jefferson proposed a law that would mandate castration for gay men and mutilation of nose cartilage for gay women. But that's not the scary part. Here's the scary part: Jefferson was considered a liberal. At the time, the most common penalty on the books was death.

    224 years later, the U.S. Supreme Court finally put an end to laws criminalizing same-sex intercourse in Lawrence v. Texas. Lawmakers at both the state and federal level continue to target lesbians and gay men with draconian legislation and hateful rhetoric. The gay rights movement is still working to change this. <snipped>
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emma Peel View Post
    I'd like more information about the curriculum proposed myself - but I'm not finding it.

    From what I'm reading, the pressure is coming from advocacy that teaching civil rights should include gay civil rights & examples thereof.

    Also, the idea the social studies & history curriculum should not exclude examples of positive role models from LGBT history.
    I think every California student should by the time of h.s. graduation know who Harvey Milk was and why he was important (not just that he was murdered).

    Unfortunately, the politics of those days were complicated and Milk wasn't killed just because he was gay. The bigger issue before the SF council had to do with zoning and the "increasing Manhattanization" of the peninsula.

    White was backed by pro-construction interests. So was Dianne Feinstein, our current senator, who was also on the council at the time. This is NOT to suggest that she approved or participated in the assassinations in any way. But her current importance may complicate efforts to dictate how that history is taught.

  7. #7
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    Breaking news:

    Governor Jerry Brown of California has signed the bill into law today.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Educati...-in-curriculum

    California today became the first state to require that school districts include in their social studies lessons the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.


    “History should be honest. This bill revises existing laws that prohibit discrimination in education and ensures that the important contributions of Americans from all backgrounds and walks of life are included in our history books,” said a statement from Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who signed the bill after supporters and opponents endured more than a week of suspense.
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    I'm still curious as to what they are going to teach. Identifying who was "gay" before the word became common in the 20th century is very tricky. I think it will be tough to explain how Socrates and RuPaul have anything in common.

    But what the hell? It's for high school students. How is it going to hurt them to talk about it?

  9. #9
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    I personally think it's great. I have a gay teen and I would give anything for her to see things like this in black and white and for everyone else to at least have to learn about the accomplishments of <gasp> EVEN gay people!!!

    Of course, we don't live in CA anymore, which makes her life even more difficult because we're in the Bible belt, but still...
    I'm just sayin...



    "Well-behaved women seldom make history." —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I'm still curious as to what they are going to teach. Identifying who was "gay" before the word became common in the 20th century is very tricky. I think it will be tough to explain how Socrates and RuPaul have anything in common.

    But what the hell? It's for high school students. How is it going to hurt them to talk about it?
    When this story first came out it said this would start in K-5.
    Have they changed that?

    They even discussed a children's book they were going to use.

    I don't have the links handy but they are in the thread for this topic in the political pavilion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    My first reaction is mixed. I'm not sure I'm crazy about historical topics being mandated by the state.

    On the other hand, I taught at a California university for a number of years and I used to assign Emily Mann's Execution of Justice, a play about the trial of Dan White, who assassinated Harvey Milk and George Mosconi. It made sense because it's an excellent work and about half my students were from the Bay Area. I don't believe I ever had a single San Francisco student who even knew there had ever been a murder of the city's mayor and a city council member. That's just wrong.
    Imo, this just undoes previous mandates. I think we should be able to discuss people truthfully in educational settings, not to is absurd.

    I think this is a great thing, but I've heard moans and groans about the cost of updating textbooks during this economic downturn. So, unfortunately, it may be a burden to get going. jmo

  12. #12
    Emma Peel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberlyd125 View Post
    When this story first came out it said this would start in K-5.
    Have they changed that?

    They even discussed a children's book they were going to use.

    I don't have the links handy but they are in the thread for this topic in the political pavilion.
    IIRC, "they" did not discuss a children's book they were going to use.

    The curriculum is yet to be determined.

    One school district, (Alameda) prior to the bill being passed, had adopted a tolerance curriculum using the book Tango, which - in Alameda has since been replaced by another book.

    I finally found the curriculum website link for Alameda School district.

    This isn't necessarily the curriculum for all districts in CA. Alameda, however, adapted the curriculum 2 years prior to the bill being signed into law.

    http://www.alamedacare.org/ausd-lesson--9.html
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberlyd125 View Post
    When this story first came out it said this would start in K-5.
    Have they changed that?

    They even discussed a children's book they were going to use.

    I don't have the links handy but they are in the thread for this topic in the political pavilion.
    Sorry, K, it took me awhile to find a site that answered your question:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0..._n_898745.html


    The bill gives school districts great latitude in implementing the law and does not specify at what grade level references to gay history must begin.

    I think school districts will do whatever is age appropriate.

    We have kids committing suicide at 12 or 13 because they are bullied for being gay or for being perceived as gay. Nothing in this bill requires the teaching of graphic sexual details. I'll defer to the experts on childhood development, but I see no reason why students shouldn't be made aware of gay historical figures in late grade school.

    My grandchildren (ages 5 through 11) know they have two gay grandparents who are married. To them, it just means we love each other and live together like their parents do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiche View Post
    Imo, this just undoes previous mandates. I think we should be able to discuss people truthfully in educational settings, not to is absurd.

    I think this is a great thing, but I've heard moans and groans about the cost of updating textbooks during this economic downturn. So, unfortunately, it may be a burden to get going. jmo
    According to the site I found for Kimberly, school districts are allowed to defer adding gay history until the next time they purchase new textbooks, so there should be much, if any, additional expense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emma Peel View Post
    IIRC, "they" did not discuss a children's book they were going to use.

    The curriculum is yet to be determined.

    One school district, (Alameda) prior to the bill being passed, had adopted a tolerance curriculum using the book Tango, which - in Alameda has since been replaced by another book.

    I finally found the curriculum website link for Alameda School district.

    This isn't necessarily the curriculum for all districts in CA. Alameda, however, adapted the curriculum 2 years prior to the bill being signed into law.

    http://www.alamedacare.org/ausd-lesson--9.html
    Thank you for finding that. It's really about teaching a lot more than about gay people; it's very much about teaching empathy and diversity, and at least provoking kids to think about how they treat one another.

    ***

    As for my question above about deciding which famous gay people to teach, the Alameda lesson plan is very conservative. It only includes contemporary figures who have announced their LGBT identity, and Walt Whitman and James Baldwin, writers whose work leaves no doubt.

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