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Blogs > Cliopatria > History by Legislative Decree

Jul 7, 2011

History by Legislative Decree




A bill passed this week by the California legislature (but not yet signed by the governor) requires that public schools teach gay and lesbian history. Predictably, though, the framing is unfortunate. Here's the relevant section of the Education Code as SB 48 would amend it:

"Instruction in social sciences shall include the early
history of California and a study of the role and contributions of
both men and women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican
Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans,
lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with
disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups, to the
economic, political, and social development of California and the
United States of America, with particular emphasis on portraying the
role of these groups in contemporary society."

So the point of the history of defined groups is that they contributed to the development of the state and the nation. The value of the life of an individual or a social group is what they do for the blended society and its political institutions. Government-mandated gay and lesbian history will be the usual massively lame contributionist pablum.

See the expected responses about "sexual brainwashing" and the like, but the resulting curriculum will be so thoroughly bleached to vanilla that it probably isn't worth the discussion. The California bill is the liberal version of the conservative legislation in Florida that requires teachers to present history as a set of facts rather than as a social construction -- it's the kind of thing that makes me grateful I don't have to sit through high school anymore. Today we're going to, uh, read about how the, uh, Mattachine Society contributed to, uh, to mainstream society.

God forbid the content of historical instruction be left to history teachers.



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