April 09, 2006

Are you ready?

For the sexual orientation of important (and not-so-important) historical figures to be noted in your kid's history textbooks? California (surprise!) is attempting to lead the way:

The state Senate will consider a bill that would require California schools to teach students about the contributions gay people have made to society -- an effort that supporters say is an attempt to battle discrimination and opponents say is designed to use the classroom to get children to embrace homosexuality.

The bill, which was passed by a Senate committee Tuesday, would require schools to buy textbooks "accurately'' portraying "the sexual diversity of our society.'' More controversially, it could require that students hear history lessons on "the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America.''

Though it's a California bill, it could have far-reaching implications, not only by setting a precedent but also because California is the nation's largest textbook buyer and as such often sets the standards for publishers who sell nationwide.

Joanne Jacobs says: "I hadn't known that the author of 'America the Beautiful,' Katharine Lee Bates, was gay. There's a classic twofer mention: female and gay. And irrelevant."

Our own Hube participated in a textbook review committee, DeTAC (Delaware Textbook Assessment Committee) that discussed, in part, an over-emphasis on trivial historical facts as opposed to vital ones -- all in the name of "group contributions." Looks like we may be embarking on yet another instance of this.

(h/t to Gooch for the link!)

Posted by Felix at April 9, 2006 06:31 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

THey gotta be nuts. Where does this stuff end? ...."President Clinton preferred head under his desk from fat, ugly interns or fat, ugly trailer trash". ..."Perhaps explaining her husband's behavior, President H.R. Clinton had no known sexual preferences and had legs like stovepipes"

Posted by: AJ Lynch at April 10, 2006 01:03 PM

Has Janet Reno ever come out and admitted that she's either a lesbian or a man? There's half a textbook's worth of material right there!

Posted by: G Rex at April 10, 2006 02:42 PM

G. Rex's question points out how ludicrous this proposal is. Reno has been quoted on sevrral occasions as saying she loves men and wished she had a husband. She, unfortunately, is just a very homely woman.

It's easy to be cruel (and I don't think G Rex was trying to be cruel)to someone like Reno but whatever happened to keeping your private affairs just that- private! Who the frig cares about this stuff except special interest groups and the media.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at April 10, 2006 02:57 PM

Exactly, AJ, unless someone's sexual orientation impacted history what's the point of discussing it except for political gain at the expense of a person's privacy?

Posted by: Paul Smith at April 10, 2006 03:11 PM

Actually, I was being cruel, AJ! But the point is the same; so friggin' what? It's like pointing out that James Buchannan was the only US President who never married. (Yes, I was watching the History Channel Saturday afternoon.) Hmm, maybe he was a closet gay? Gosh, the implications are...staggeringly meaningless, unless you're going around trying to get everyone to be even more tolerant of gays than we already are. Guess what, we're all pretty cool with the idea that there are gay people everywhere, you just can't get married to each other.

Posted by: G Rex at April 10, 2006 04:22 PM

G Rex: That's OK- I can be cruel too. Yeah I have heard Buchanan referred to as maybe the most inconsequential president so I doubt the gays will take credit for him.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at April 10, 2006 04:28 PM

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