The FAIR Education Act requires that California K-12 schools provide Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful representations of people with disabilities and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in history and social studies curriculum.
The California Education Code has been updated over time to make sure that the role and contributions of members of underrepresented racial, ethnic and cultural groups to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States are included in history and social studies lessons. The FAIR Education Act amends the Education Code by mandating California schools to also include the contributions of people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community in the curriculum.
The updated educational guidelines also prescribe that schools do not adopt learning materials with a discriminatory bias or negative stereotypes based on gender, sexual orientation or disability.
The FAIR Education Act, SB 48, was authored by Senator Mark Leno, signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012.
There is no state-mandated curriculum on these topics. Instead, the state issues guidelines and then lessons are developed and approved at the local level, where school districts and school board members, with input from parents and teachers, will decide what’s appropriate for each classroom.
Coursework may vary, but local school districts, parents and teachers might consider including in history courses lessons such as:
Under these updated guidelines, students will learn age-appropriate facts about what really happened in history, but lessons will not include the intimate details of historical figures’ lives. Lessons about morality or sex are not part of the guidelines and are left entirely for parents to discuss with their kids at home.
The Fair Education Act amends the California Education Code for Elementary and Secondary School’s chapters on Required Courses of Study and Instructional Materials:
(a) The contributions of both men and women in all types of roles, including professional, vocational, and executive roles.
(b) The role and contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups to the total development of California and the United States.
(c) The role and contributions of the entrepreneur and labor in the total development of California and the United States.
(a) Any matter reflecting adversely upon persons on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation, occupation, or because of a characteristic listed in Section 220.
(b) Any sectarian or denominational doctrine or propaganda contrary to law.
In partnership with the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History (CLGBTH), an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, Our Family Coalition and Gay-Straight Alliance Network supported the project of putting together recommended revisions to the existing framework. You can access the recommendations and learn something new about LGBT history in the 2014 report Making the Framework FAIR .
This website is created by Our Family Coalition in collaboration with many organizations working towards the implementation of the FAIR Education Act.
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