The Class Act Is Not Exactly FAIR

I bet the San Bernardino County Democratic Party would love to have me instead of Ray Moors in their party right now. However, I will cringe hard in either major political party. I honestly may agree with the Republicans half the time, but when it comes to civil rights issues I have to be chugging the antacid pills when I attend the meetings at the San Bernardino County Republican Party. I bet Ray is feeling like an outcast in the Democratic Party right now.

I do not feel enthusiastic in participating in my local county and state Republican parties because they do not understand how to deal with groups such as Latinos and the gays. Even though the Democratic Party does not know how to balance a budget to save their lives in Sacramento, the Republican Party alienates more voters than they attempt to reach out to in California. The Republican revolution of 2010 failed in California. If Steve Cooley only refused to defend Prop 8 and supported marijuana users we would have had our only victory.

I am writing this column today in response to a letter the San Bernardino County Republican party issued in their support of the CLASS Act to repeal SB 48.

Republicans may be concerned that teachers and students are prohibited from using examples or language that would be not be adverse about the individual being studied. However we have to be tactful about what language we use because it can affect the students because they may be part of a demographic group discussed.

Being LGBT is not like switching religions or catching the flu, either you are or you are not. Watching a KD Lang concert will not make young girls want to drive Subaru and play in softball leagues. The goal of SB 48 is to show that there are LGBT people in history and many of them did great things such as save a president’s life from assassination, help Martin Luther King in his quest for civil rights for African Americans and to help in the formation of computer science. Maybe with a more holistic presentation of history it would help make students worldlier, so we can have respect for all students no matter what group or culture they may belong to.

History is very subjective, if we did not have bills such as SB 48 we would not have the real picture on what makes our local cities, our state of California, our nation and the world work. Students should have the entire picture handed to them so they would know the real picture. In states such as Texas George Washington and John Adams were erased from the high school textbooks in social science. If the Republican Party in California had their way we would have Bayard Rustin and Alan Turing erased from our history books as well.

LGBT people do exist in our communities, but many individuals do believe this is a very sensitive topic. Before this bill passed I even agreed that this should be changed to a 7th thru 12thgrade only topic so we can get less parents fearful about SB 48 and their worries about its impact.

It does vary what perspectives practitioners of social science follow. There is a reason why the State of California lists various groups that need to have some inclusion in textbooks and lessons. The county party does conclude that, “we advocate a social-science curriculum that focuses on individuals’ contributions to society rather than their personal sexual orientation.” However even so, these individuals would still be forsaken even if we did not include their sexual orientation. It took me after high school to learn about the accomplishments of Bayard Rustin when we watched a documentary about his accomplishment in the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King.

The CLASS Act, the referendum designed to repeal SB 48 sounds good, but there is a poison pill. Section three is the provision I do find offensive and objectionable because it strips out provisions to protect against abusive lessons against LGBT people.

“In kindergarten through grade 12, a teacher shall not give instruction, and no textbook or instructional material shall be adopted, calculated to promote acts of discrimination against racial and ethnic groups.”

The problem I find in section three is that I do find most educators professional and mature; there will be some that will abuse their position and end up including lessons that may be hostile to LGBT students. We should treat all students with respect, just as how a sales clerk at a retail store has to treat all his customers with respect as well.

I could agree that historical figures should be based on historical merit. However it varies on the authors of the textbooks to decide who is worthy and if we do not mention the required groups we will not likely have people such as Cesar Chavez included in our history books when we cover California history and US History.

Public schools have to serve all students no matter if they are traditionalist or outside the mainstream. If students do not feel comfortable learning due to intimidation then they are not going to succeed. Perhaps we need to decentralize our school system so the state would not have total control over curriculum. If Alameda County does not serve a traditional values oriented family needs they can always leave just as much as a queer teenager feeling that Kern County may not serve his or her educational needs.

As long as school districts do not partake in the omission of historical facts, then they should be able to set their way.

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