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About FAIR

In California, education guidelines have been updated over time to make sure that the role and historical contributions of women and members of other racial, ethnic and cultural groups aren’t left out of history and social studies lessons. Recently, these guidelines were updated again through the Fair Education Act to add two additional groups that have often been excluded from history: people who are gay or transgender and people with disabilities.

These updated guidelines also prevent schools from adopting learning materials with a discriminatory bias or negative stereotypes based solely on ability or disability or sexual orientation.

These updated guidelines went into effect on January 1, 2012

Who Will Determine What is Taught Under These Updated Education Guidelines?

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.

What Kinds of Lessons Might Students Learn?

Coursework may vary, but local school districts, parents and teachers might consider including in history courses lessons such as:

  • When students learn about the Holocaust and how the Nazis killed millions of Jews, they might also learn that Hitler targeted and killed people simply because they were gay or lesbian, as well as killing people with disabilities, or gypsies, or because of their beliefs, such as being a Communist or a Jehovah’s Witness.
  • Students could learn about the public debate that led to the 1993 passage of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, where people were not allowed to serve in the U.S. military if they were openly gay or lesbian. Then they would also learn about the repeal of this policy in 2011.
  • Students currently learn about César Chávez and the farm worker’s rights movement, Susan B. Anthony and how women won the right to vote, and Martin Luther King Jr. who worked for and died for civil rights. Now they could also learn about Harvey Milk and how he worked to advance gay rights, and that he was also assassinated.


Will These Lessons Include Information About Sex?

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 California Department of Education has also published a Frequently Asked Questions page that can be found by following this link
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/senatebill48faq.asp.

 

The website is created by Our Family Coalition in collaboration with many organizations working towards the implementation of the FAIR Education Act.  Additional organizations and their logos are forthcoming.

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