New lessons for elementary, middle and high school students that recognize the contributions of minorities including "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans," were approved by the California Board of Education members Thursday. The updates are part of a broader overhaul of California's history and social science curriculum.
CBS reported that California students in second grade will learn about families with two moms or two dads. Two years later, while studying how immigrants have shaped the Golden State, they will hear how New York native Harvey Milk became a pioneering gay politician in San Francisco.
California State Superintendent Tom Torlakson said the new initiative is called the History-Social Science Framework, and that it will update and upgrade history and social science instruction in the state.
"This is a big win for our students," said Torlakson. "This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science. It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past."
On the California Department of Education Facebook page, Jamie Oliver posted it would be interesting to see what would happen if the state's education leaders decided that the Bible should be taught in school. "You can bet that the gay agenda would be out in full force protesting against it. But we are all supposed to just sit back and accept that our children are indoctrinated with the gay lifestyle?"
"And if we don't want our second graders learning about it, we are suddenly homophobes? Maybe I don't want our second graders or any elementary students talking about sex at all in school," stated Oliver.
The Framework adds considerable information on civic learning, consistent with the work of Torlakson's California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning, according to the department's news release. In addition, information was added about financial literacy; voter education; genocide; and the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans and people with disabilities to the history of California and the United States.
The Framework includes more than 20 detailed classroom examples that show teachers how they can integrate their instruction to build students' history-social science knowledge and skills, literacy skills, and English language development.
During four hours of public testimony, dozens of speakers criticized the way the framework discusses Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Japan's use of "comfort women" during World War II, but no one objected to the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Opponents remain concerned the guidelines de-emphasize important historical figures and events to make room for LGBT icons of lesser or disputed note, said Pacific Justice Institute senior staff attorney Matthew McReynolds, whose Sacramento legal defense organization was involved in the repeal efforts.