I normally keep up on current events and the news. I am the type of person who loves to see what is going to happen next with the exception of bad news. So I couldn’t believe when Gov. Brown of California signed The Fair Education Act that is Senate Bill 48. This Bill mandates that schools beginning with kindergarten through 12th grade instruct their teachers to make every effort to identify Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people and their contributions to history, science, politics and other topics affecting our state and country. The Law directs our teachers to identify materials and books and teach about the positive contributions of people who happen to identify themselves as GLB or T.
Right after Gov. Brown signed this Law numerous articles began to appear supporting the need for such a law along with commentaries, opinions, essays and articles condemning the need for the program. The dialogue on both sides was extremely intense and probably still is. The articles seem to support the different positions with extreme statements at times declaring the world will end if the Law is struck down or end if kept in present form added as the 11th commandment to the stone tablets which Moses received from God. After changing my glasses three times I decided to read the law in its original form and decide for myself the right and wrong of it. In my humble opinion there are some problems with how the law is written.
I am not sure why a local columnist said Gov. Brown had it right when he announced that history should be honest when the law seems to not only suggest but mandate only events or accomplishments by GLBT people that are positive or portray GLBT people in a positive light or manner can be taught. Only books and materials that demonstrate or show GLBT people in a positive manner or contributing to our society in a positive way can be taught or used. This is not history and it is not honest. Let me illustrate my point. This is a hypothetical statement and only a fictional example but what would happen with a historical event if a group of politicians who just happen to be Gay did something illegal causing a state catastrophe. Given how the law is written, this event could not be discussed or taught in the classroom because it would portray Gay people in a negative manner. Remember, I mean no disrespect to anyone and this is only a hypothetical example to show Gov. Brown is not providing a forum through our schools that provides an honest approach demonstrating the positive and negative contributions of all of our people regardless of race, religion or sexual preference. Our present laws and guidelines forbid our schools from using materials or textbooks that use derogatory language in describing or discussing GLBT people in a negative way. It appears the law is written so our schools can make a special effort to bring into play a person’s sexual preferences. There may be occasions where a person’s sexual preference is important to an event or to history or a situation that needs to be covered in a students curriculum. A good example of this would be historical events that happened in the city of San Francisco during the late 70s and early 80s. GLBT people were extremely important given the political movements in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition sexual preferences and peoples sexual activity was extremely important given the discovery of AIDS in the early 80s. There are times when it is important to discuss a person’s sexual preference and a person’s sexual behavior.
I believe the law is wrong not only in regards to the honesty the law mandates in presenting only portions of the information but I think it is wrong to discuss a person’s sexual preference or behavior with a five or six or seven-year-old. These types of discussions should be age appropriate and I’m not sure that our schools are the best place for this information to be handled. My child is 7 years old and his mother and I are talking with him about sexual preferences and these are difficult concepts for him. I just can’t imagine how the teacher is going to present material that identifies the person as gay or lesbian when most children have no idea what this means and if they do it is usually a distorted view. Will the teacher explain this in the classroom. Will the teacher take on the role of discussing the birds and bees with 5, 6 and 7 year-olds and what happens to those special discussions that should be between parents and their children . Our teachers are having a hard enough time teaching math, science, reading and writing and now somehow they are going to interject this difficult concept into the lives of five-year-olds. Our public schools in California are ranked among the lowest in the United States and now our teachers will need to provide sex education to five-year-olds. This issue is troubling since many of the five-year-olds I know are still trying to learn their colors.
This is a very bad law not because people want to talk about the positive contributions of GLBT people but our politicians and Governor wants schools to take over what is traditionally the job and duty of the parents. This is a bad law because it lacks honesty. History has to be interpreted by the facts and yet only one side of the story is acceptable to the Government or to Gov. Brown. I am all for eliminating name-calling and derogatory terms but I want history to be taught honestly and accurately. If it is important to speak about a persons sexuality because of the event or situation then so be it. I could go on to argue that this is political correctness gone wild. When we consider what is going on with some religions and other protected minorities then the logic supports the idea that this law is political correctness gone crazy.
As I studied European history there were many times where it was important to understand the actions of different monarchies including their sexual behavior and preferences. Often the sexual activity of royalty in the 15th 16th and 17th centuries played a tremendous role in the religious influences and political influences of their day. As I mentioned earlier the sexual preferences of large groups of people in San Francisco in the late 70s and early 80s was tremendously important in understanding the political movements and influences of their day. Discussions regarding history and the influences of certain people and their sexual preferences may be extremely important at the college level and possibly may be appropriate for high school students but let the little ones learn their colors.