Is California Forcing LGBT Indoctrination on Schools?

Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Photo credit: Hakan Dahlstrom via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Now that most sane Californians who are not billionaires have fled the state (and God bless the intrepid remnant who remain to fight!), the Left faces little opposition to its radical agenda. A recent illustration is the state board of education’s approval of the new K-12 social science and history framework.

Sober commentators have warned about the extreme leftist slant of the framework. A glaring example is that some lessons will now focus on individuals solely because of their sexual behavior.

A 2011 California law requires instruction on historical contributions of LGBT people. Since then the California Department of Education (CDE) has been busily incorporating this mandate into the social studies framework. As Susan Berry of Breitbart reports, the result is that LGBT content will begin in second grade with lessons about homosexual couples plus, for kicks, a story about a 19th-century transvestite stagecoach-driver. If parents think second grade is too early for such information, they will just have to get over it. The State has spoken.

The framework includes LGBT content in grades 4 and 8 as well, but it’s in grade 11 that the indoctrination shifts into overdrive. LGBT-ism is addressed squarely in the context of civil rights. The terms “oppression” and “persecution” are scattered throughout the discussion, with vice-squad raids on gay bars lumped in with KKK lynchings (p. 542, 561-62).

The framework celebrates successes of LGBT activism: the political vote of the American Psychiatric Association to stop designating homosexuality as a mental disorder; the passage of state laws prohibiting discrimination based on LGBT status; and court and agency decisions applying civil-rights protections to LGBT individuals. Students will learn that gay activist groups such as the California-based Mattachine Society developed relationships with clergy to “challenge teachings . . . that condemned homosexuality as sinful . . . .” (p. 591-92). There is no mention of oppression or persecution of religious business-owners who try to quietly live out their faith in accordance with those teachings; in the California framework, civil rights are a one-way street.

Teachers are also encouraged to take advantage of California’s unique history to focus on the 1980’s “AIDS hysteria” and connect it to “previous alarmist reactions.” “California students are particularly poised to tap local history resources on the epidemic related to a retreat from some areas of the civil rights, women’s liberation and sexual liberation movements” (p. 592). Could the description of LGBT activism be any more loaded than “sexual liberation”?

Noteworthy also are the individuals the framework recommends for lessons on LBGT history, including San Francisco politician Harvey Milk (who first appears in the 4th-grade standards), Mattachine founder Harry Hay, flamboyant drag queen Jose Sarria, transgender activist Ray “Sylvia” Rivera, and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.

One doubts that drag queens have ever been included before in any curriculum, anywhere, regardless of what else they may have been known for in certain circles. But it gets worse. The statute mandating LGBT paeans also prohibits curricular materials “reflecting adversely upon persons because of their . . . sexual orientation.” Although this language doesn’t necessarily prevent a balanced discussion of the celebrated individuals, teachers are unlikely to risk orchestrated pushback by including negative information.

So while California students will learn about drag queens and their champions, they probably won’t learn that Milk had sexual relationships with underage boys; that Hay was a longtime member of the Communist Party USA who resigned only to protect the Party from association with homosexual causes; or that Kinsey was a monster who undoubtedly employed sexual child abuse in his “research.”

(Of course, it’s possible that some of these things will be included in the curricula — maybe the CDE educrats don’t consider them to be negatives.)

As quoted by Breitbart, Peter Wood of the National Association of Scholars pointed out the absurdity of prohibiting adverse reflections on specified groups of people. “[I]t is a deep disservice to students to give them a whitewashed story. The California framework is identity politics leaning so far left that it has fallen in the Pacific Ocean of educational incompetence.” Presenting only the positive information and screening out the bad is the very definition of indoctrination.

Non-Californians should not be complacent. What’s happening on the Left Coast may be coming to our states soon. Correction — it is here, or will be soon. Some school systems (such as in ChicagoMassachusetts, and Washington state) are already teaching kindergartners about same-sex relationships and “gender-fluidity,” so it’s a small step to celebrating flamboyant LGBT activists throughout K-12. As goes California . . . .

Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project. Emmett McGroarty is the American Principles Project’s Director of Education.