A FAIR Ed History

The FAIR Education Act was signed into law in 2011, making California the first state in the nation to mandate the inclusion of people who are LGBTQ and people with disabilities in history and social science curricula. But many years of work preceded this historic passage.  Following its being enacted, another seven years passed before the law began to be implemented in California schools. The timeline below provides a partial list of milestones along the way.

2006 – Carolyn Laub, Executive Director, of GSA Network, conceives idea, solicits legislative support.

2006 – Senator Sheila Kuehl introduces SB 1437, “The Bias Free Curriculum Act.” Passed legislature, but vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.   A different bill, SB 1441, the “Nondiscrimination in State Programs and Activities Act,” was signed into law that year, stipulating that state agencies and schools may not discriminate against homosexual people.

2010 – Senator Mark Leno introduced SB 48, “The FAIR Education Act,” in the California legislature. Courage Campaign, Equality California, GSA Network, Our Family Coalition, along with many other organizations and individual community members, advocated for its passage, both in public testimonies and in letters.

2011 – FAIR Act passed in legislature, 50-26; signed by Governor Brown in July.

2012 – FAIR Act enacted into the Education Code as of January 1.

2014 – Pursuant to Senate Bill 1540, the California State Department of Education (CDE) begins to update the state History – Social Science Framework.

2014Making the Framework Fair published by members of the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, an affiliation of the American Historical Association. Lead authors: Professors Don Romesburg, Leila Rupp, and David Donahue.

2014 – Over 700 public comments about the draft History Social Science Framework received by the CDE.  

2014 – FAIR Education Act Coalition convened by Our Family Coalition and including representatives of the Committee on LGBT History, Equality California, GSA Network, ACLU of Southern California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Transgender Law Center, and Los Angeles LGBT Center. This group advocates and speaks at state meetings about the inclusion of LGBT history in the history framework and history textbooks.

2015 – CDE requests funds to hire historians to review public comments. The state legislature allocates money to do so.

2016History – Social Science Framework updated based on recommendations. Includes LGBT History and LGBT Americans specifically in second, fourth, fifth, eighth, eleventh and twelfth grade history curriculum.

2016 – State Board of Education adopts revised History Social Science Framework.

2017 – Spring: New state history textbooks reviewed by state panels, which for the first time are required to include LGBT history. Internal Dept of Ed review panels initially recommend textbooks found later by LGBTQ-inclusive ed advocates as sorely lacking. Our Family Coalition reconvenes the FAIR Education Act Coalition, adding Implementation to its title and mission, and leads intensive lobbying and support of the CA Dept of Ed through the remainder of the textbook review process.

2017 – Late Summer: the state’s Instructional Quality Commission approves and recommends LGBT-inclusive textbooks to the State Board of Education.

2017 – Late Fall: State Board of Education approves LGBT-inclusive textbooks.

2018 – FAIR Education Act Implementation Coalition receives the José Sarria History Maker Award by San Francisco LGBT Pride.

2018 – School districts across California review recommended texts, per processes guided by California Department Education Code, and decide which will be used for their school district. According to Cal Ed Facts, the state currently has 344 Unified school districts and 528 Elementary school districts serving over six million students.


These Textbook Evaluation Tools  provide comprehensive guidelines regarding alignment to the LGBT history – social sciences content frameworks for schools and parents.