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New bill requires schools to expand same-sex history lessons

History lessons will soon become even more diverse in classrooms throughout California in the near future.

 

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 48 (FAIR Education Act) into law last week, a bill requiring the history and contributions of Pacific Islanders, persons with disabilities, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons to be included in history instruction going forward.

 

Claremont Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Bonnie Bell said the district is awaiting further instructions from the state before taking any action.

 

“We need to get the interpretation of the bill that will show us how this will impact public education and the implementation plan from the state board before we move forward on anything,” Dr. Bell told the COURIER on Monday. “Once those things are in place, we will abide by whatever law governs us.”

 

Existing law requires history classes to emphasize the role and contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, European Americans, Mexican Americans and Asian Americans in textbooks and history lessons. The legislation was authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).

 

“History should be honest,” Governor Brown said in a written statement. “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. It represents an important step forward for our state, and I thank Senator Leno for his hard work on this historic legislation.”

 

The new bill has been the subject of debate for months leading up to Governor Brown’s signing. Several groups such as the Protect Kids Foundation and SaveCalifornia.com have been outspoken critics against the bill, believing that the bill disregards parents’ rights. 

 

For more information on the Senate Bill 98, visit leginfo.ca.gov/billinfo.html. 

—Landus Rigsby


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