The California State Board of Education unanimously approved Thursday an update to the state’s public school curriculum incorporating LGBT issues into history and social science.
The History-Social Sciences Framework will integrate LGBT content into elementary, middle and high school classes.
Teachers are encouraged to read stories to second-grade students featuring “a very diverse collection of families,” including “families with lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender parents and their children.”
The Framework cautions teachers not to “assume any particular family structure and ask questions in a way that will easily include children from diverse family backgrounds.”
In history classes, fourth graders will study Harvey Milk, a pioneering gay politician from San Francisco.
Middle and high school courses will examine changing gender roles in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, emphasizing artists and figures who transgressed traditional norms and values.
Recent Supreme Court cases concerning gay rights and same-sex marriage will serve as a capstone in high school government and history classes.
Don Romesburg, director of the Framework’s Committee on LGBT History, said the new Framework “allows students to think critically and expansively about how the past relates to the present and future roles that they can play in an inclusive and respectful society.”
Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said incorporating LGBT issues into the curriculum will cut down on bullying targeting LGBT students.
“An LGBT-inclusive curriculum helps create an environment where all students can thrive,” Mr. Zbur said in a statement. “And by seeing themselves reflected in lessons and materials, students’ experiences are validated and their sense of self-worth reinforced, creating the opportunity for students to be able to achieve academically.”
Gay-rights groups initially objected to the curriculum for only giving a nod to LGBT issues in history and social science. But American Historical Association scholars offered recommendations to increase LGBT representation in classes, most of which were accepted.