Monday, December 04, 2017

School Books

Texas dominates the school book market; they have so many students that printers use Texas school books for other states around the country. But lately other school districts have been shying away from them because of their conservative leaning on science, the environment, and evolution; in walks California.
California just approved 10 LGBT-inclusive textbooks for elementary & middle school
By Alex Bollinger
November 12, 2017

The California State Board of Education just agreed to recommend ten LGBTQ-inclusive history textbooks for grades K through 8. The board also rejected two books from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that failed to include LGBTQ people.

In 2011, California passed the FAIR Education Act, which added people with disabilities and LGBT people to the list of minorities whose contributions must be included in textbooks in the state.
Meanwhile Texas is removing all reference about LGBT people.
“This long fought victory is the next step for California students to learn about the contributions and history of LGBTQ people,” Equality California executive director Rick Zbur said.

School districts in California do not have to choose a book recommended by the state, but many do. Either way, their curriculum has to meet state standards.
A 2012 article in the New York Review of Books had this to say,
No matter where you live, if your children go to public schools, the textbooks they use were very possibly written under Texas influence. If they graduated with a reflexive suspicion of the concept of separation of church and state and an unexpected interest in the contributions of the National Rifle Association to American history, you know who to blame.

When it comes to meddling with school textbooks, Texas is both similar to other states and totally different. It’s hardly the only one that likes to fiddle around with the material its kids study in class. The difference is due to size—4.8 million textbook-reading schoolchildren as of 2011—and the peculiarities of its system of government, in which the State Board of Education is selected in elections that are practically devoid of voters, and wealthy donors can chip in unlimited amounts of money to help their favorites win.
And this is where California comes in… they have enough of a clout to be able to offer alternatives to the Texas school books.

Of course according to the LGBTQNation article there is opposition to the books and it comes from the usual anti-LGBT sources,
Conservatives, of course, opposed any inclusion of LGBTQ people at all. The California Family Institute, in a blog post, said that the law “doesn’t take into account the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of millions of California parents.”
We can have our little children finding out that Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson were gay and lesbians, might make the children start thinking it is okay to be LGBT.

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