Making history honest

Gay history should be taught in the schools, but with sensitivity

Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of the FAIR (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful) Education Act, SB 48 by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), is another positive move forward toward ending discrimination against homosexuals. But it needs to be implemented with sensitivity toward those parents who are nervous about the discussion of sexual issues with their children.

With the bill’s signing, California became the first state to require public schools to teach students about gay history. Social studies classes will include the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in textbooks and other instructional material.

“History should be honest,” Brown said during signing. “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 also should go a long way toward stopping the bullying and harassment so many children are subject to in school.

Due to budget cuts, the state is not scheduled to create new K-8 curricula until 2015. That should give education officials plenty of time to involve the public in determining the appropriate grade levels for the discussion of sexual orientation and other issues related to gay life and history.

California school officials understand the importance of making sex education age-appropriate. Adding education about homosexuals should be no different, but it is going to require sensitivity to implement, lest SB 48 lead to a flight from the public schools.