The California Education Code has been updated over time to ensure that the 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. To this end, California Education Code’s Social Content statute requires that instructional materials:
The FAIR Education Act, SB 48 (Leno), was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBT community in history and social studies curriculum.
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.
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.
Coursework may vary, but local school districts, parents and teachers might consider including in history courses lessons such as:
Social science education researchers have deemed a transformational approach the best practice for integrating diversity into frameworks and curricula. Such an approach expands students’ abilities to understand gender and sexuality as changing historical categories and as lenses for historical and contemporary analysis. It also reflects accurately the ways that professional historians have come to understand historical LGBT roles and contributions.
This report was produced by the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History (CLGBTH), an affiliated society of the American Historical Association, in partnership with Our Family Coalition, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and an anonymous donor.
Convened in 2014 by Our Family Coalition, over a half a dozen state and national organizations comprise the FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition, and have worked since 2014 to see this historic education reform thoroughly implemented, from its status in legislation, to curricular framework, to textbook adoption, to school district-by-school district and classroom-by-classroom implementation.