Various Direct Links

12 October 2011

Praise: California's SB-48

Introduced in December 2010 and enacted this year, SB-48 is perhaps the most wide-reaching law for inclusion of all groups in social studies classes in public schools.  I had mentioned this briefly in discussing the mayoral candidates for San Diego, but had not explained why this is praiseworthy or the ongoing obstacles.

Groups that must be included in social studies in California now include "men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups.  Instructional materials and activities "must not reflect adversely upon persons on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation".  The full law is online.

It currently looks like efforts to overturn SB-48 are going to fail.  The repeal effort is not going to be the end of the hatred.  Let's look directly at the lies on the Stop SB-48 website.

Implementing SB 48 would require the use of extensive taxpayer dollars to review, revise, and adopt curriculum with an eye to promoting a political agenda instead of with an eye to promoting successful education. SB 48 costs California’s taxpayers, students, and schools too much.

No.  Textbooks rotation varies from state to state and district to district, but purchasing new materials, after a full review process, will happen with or without SB-48.  The costs do not change.

Even if SB 48 were not so costly, it would be a harmful bill because it goes too far in its attempts to keep bisexual, transgender, and homosexual individuals from being offended. California law prohibits bullying, and rightly so. But SB 48 moves beyond provisions regarding bullying and crosses a line into indoctrination.

No.  Read the law.  There is inclusion and lack of bigotry in the process, no indoctrination.

It uses all social science curriculum, including history books and other instructional materials, to teach children as young as five not only to accept but also to endorse transgenderism, bisexuality, and homosexuality, looking to individuals with these lifestyles as models and viewing their sexual lifestyles positively.

No.  Accept, but not endorse.  The law has nothing about endorsement.  When an individual has done great or horrific things, things worthy of note in a social studies text, that should be included.  If they have done great things and are not heterosexual, that is part of who they are and should be included.  Doing so does increase acceptance of LGBTQ persons as normal, but does not change who the students are.

SB 48 has been referred to as “The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act” and the Attorney General’s office has given our referendum the official title, “Referendum to Overturn Non-Discrimination Requirements for School Instruction.” But SB 48′s wishful approach to education does not address discrimination or deal fairly and accurately with the facts of history.

I can't help but wonder what the Stop-48 people were reading.  The bill is clear, it does address discrimination, and it does deal fairly and accurately with the facts of history.

SB 48 is inconsistent with accepted and legally-established standards of fair and accurate history.

If they are claiming that SB-48 changes the old standard where the LGBTQ community is ignored or vilified, then this claim is correct.  Fair and inclusive treatment of minorities has not always been true in social studies courses.

The bill prohibits materials that contain “any matter reflecting adversely upon persons on the basis of” membership in a protected class such as race, ethnicity, or nationality. Yet it fails to define adverse reflection or provide standards for determining whether an adverse reflection was made on a legal basis. This vagueness allows challenges against any curriculum that discusses a single human action in a negative light, presenting curriculum writers, teachers, and school districts with a legal dilemma.

I hope that it is glaringly obvious that there is a huge difference between saying that someone is a thief who is of a particular group and saying that someone is of a particular group and therefore is a thief.  That is the "vagueness" which is not really very vague.

The Stop-48 arguments go on and each can easily be refuted based on common sense and based on the actual text of the law.

So, why write about this now, when the timeline to overturn SB-48 has nearly run out?  It is important to document the bigotry and hatred and have a clear record of what discrimination looks like so that it can be more easily fought against in the future.

The big fear is that of indoctrination.  There is an irrational fear that exposure to anyone in the LGBTQ community, particularly if that exposure is in a positive light, might somehow make it easier for children to become gay or become transgender.  The fact is that children are not going to change who they are because of SB-48 or anything else, the American Medical Association makes this clear in their policy statement.

23 October 2011, FollowUp 1.

28 November 2011, FollowUp 2.

9 December 2011, FollowUp 3.

28 January 2012, FollowUp 4.

1 comment:

  1. David L. Caster12 October, 2011 21:02

    "There is an irrational fear that exposure to anyone in the LGBTQ community, particularly if that exposure is in a positive light, might somehow make it easier for children to become gay or become transgender."

    Those that would deny or undermine the civil rights of the LGBT* community are dedicated to a single goal: stopping the normalization of homosexuality, and no moral code is so scared that it will not be compromised, trampled, or hidden behind to achieve that end. Whether or not that was the stated objective of Stop SB-48, it is the intended effect of all output of the Anti-gay Industry.

    The now failed objective in undoing the enactment of SB-48 was an attempt to hide from view the important contributions of LGBT* people and their activism. A legitimate portrayal of the role of gay people in history and everyday life does make it easier for children that are in fact gay to develop into fully functional and contributing members of society. That is not something to be feared and instead should be celebrated. Of course, the enemies of equality don't see it that way and are unlikely to rest long before redoubling their efforts.

    Lies and distortion were all that Stop SB-48 had. Were they to have had the financial backing to pay for signature gatherers, they may very well have succeeded in placing their initiative on the ballot at a time when it would likely have passed. We can celebrate their misfortune with a clear conscience but we should not be misled into thinking that we actually won more than a reprieve.


No longer open for freely commenting.