This is the latest fad of the California public school system:
Everyday there’s a new reason for parents of modest means to wish they had more choices in educating their children. The latest is the seemingly relentless drive to turn public education into a form of social engineering even as schools fail in their primary mission of teaching basic skills.
Exhibit A is a bill that just passed the California State Senate on a 22 to 15 vote. The bill would impose a statewide mandate requiring all schools to create a “bias-free” curriculum that recognizes the contributions of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (known as LGBT for short). Written by Senator Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica and backed by the California Federation of Teachers, the bill envisions such things as identifying historical figures as gay when they are discussed in class. A closer reading makes it clear there is also an intent to discourage any disparaging references to anyone who’s gay, even if the comments are unrelated to the subject’s sexuality.
Ms. Kuehl’s backstory has inevitably become part of the debate. She played Zelda in the 50s sitcom “Dobie Gillis,” but rumors about her sexuality allegedly prevented her from having a bigger run in Hollywood, launching her on a career as an activist and politician. As for the specifics of what might be taught in future California textbooks, Democratic Senator Gloria Romero said she hoped they included mention of Sen. Kuehl’s pioneering role in advancing gay rights. “I don’t see how we’re going to understand what she’s accomplished without knowing who she is,” Ms. Romero told fellow senators.
It used to be that legislators were satisfied to have a public building named after themselves. We may now be entering a brave new world where some of them expect also to be immortalized in the curriculum.
Ms. Kuehl says her bill merely builds on current efforts to have public schools foster the acceptance of women and minorities. But many public schools have instead turned into bastions of political correctness in which homage to “diversity” has become a type of secular religion. I suspect backers of Ms. Kuehl’s bill are hoping it squelches any opposition to same-sex marriage or public financing of sex-change operations from being expressed in class. Senator Kuehl says the goal merely is to instill a sense of pride in gay students. Randy Thomasson, a spokesman for parents opposed to the change, was skeptical: “I seriously doubt California students will excel from learning about our leaders based on who they slept with.” He also noted the national implications of rewriting California textbooks to be gay-friendly, given that the state represents 12% of the nation’s textbook market.