Conservative California school board adopts curriculum including gay rights after spat with governor

A conservative California school board staunchly opposed to teaching gay rights in its social studies curriculum finally reversed course after holding a heated nine-hour debate and publicly feuding with Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

On Friday, Temecula Valley Unified School District voted to adopt “California’s Cultural Contributions” textbooks, reversing a May vote rejecting the curriculum. A hearing was held in June during which many parents disagreed with the board’s 3-2 decision, followed by a nine-hour meeting earlier this month.

Governor Newsom had threatened to not only send the textbooks to Temecula but fine the district $1.5million if it did not implement curriculum which had been approved by the State Board of Education for Grades 1-5.

“We’re going to purchase the book for these students – the same one that hundreds of thousands of kids are already using,” the governor tweeted on 13 July. “If these extremist school board members won’t do their job, we will – and fine them for their incompetence.”

“Fortunately, now students will receive the basic materials needed to learn,” he said in a statement following the Temecula district’s decision.

“But this vote lays bare the true motives of those who opposed this curriculum. This has never been about parents’ rights. It’s not even about Harvey Milk – who appears nowhere in the textbook students receive. This is about extremists’ desire to control information and censor the materials used to teach our children.”

Much of the district’s controversy had centred on Mr Milk, the first known out gay man to hold public office in California who was assassinated at San Francisco City Hall in 1978.

Allison Barclay, a board member of the Temecula Valley Unified School District, told CNN that there was “no mention of Harvey Milk in the textbook that I know of”.

“He is listed in a supplemental section titled ‘Biographies’ where there are several hundred short, age-appropriate biographies of historical figures,” she said.

Within the curriculum lessons, she said, “there are several sections, such as artists, architects, writers, educators, discussing Californians who made substantial contributions in these areas. Under the heading ‘Protests,’ one paragraph discusses gay rights in California and under the heading ‘Court Cases,’ there are two paragraphs that discuss the court cases that allowed gay marriage in California.”

Gov Newsom –a vocal opponent of book bans and other Republican efforts across the country, not just California – continued in his Friday statement: “Demagogues who whitewash history, censor books, and perpetuate prejudice never succeed. Hate doesn’t belong in our classrooms and because of the board majority’s antics, Temecula has a civil rights investigation to answer for.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button