Education

Historical Friction

May 12, 2006 1 min read

The California Senate has approved legislation that would require the state’s schools to teach students about the historical contributions of gay Americans. If signed into law, the measure could have ramifications nationwide, since California’s curriculum carries a great deal of weight with textbook publishers. Advocates say teaching students about the role of gays in American history is a natural extension of current civil rights studies in social science courses. They also believe it would foster a more accepting environment for kids who are gay or lesbian. Opponents, however, called the legislation an affront to family values (“Happy Mother’s Day, California,” sneered the president of the Campaign for Children and Families), and criticized it as educationally specious. Republican Senator Bill Morrow, for example, argued that emphasizing particular historical figures’ homosexuality is irrelevant since “their contribution to history has nothing to do with their sexual proclivities.” The measure must still be passed by the state Assembly and signed by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has yet to voice a position on it.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

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