Last week, two school districts in the Sacramento area approved new controversial social studies textbooks that will introduce kids to the sexual orientation of historical figures starting in first grade. Parents in the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD) and Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District (DCJESD) spent hours testifying in public hearings about their objections to introducing young kids to sexualized topics, but board members unanimously disregarded their concerns.
Chet Madison, Sr., Board President of the Elk Grove School District chastised parents at last Tuesday’s school board meeting, expressing frustration over having to deal with parent “biases.” Madison gave parents a lecture about the evils of racism, recalling this personal experience of prejudice he experienced as a racial minority. “We all better get with the program, and we better treat people right,” he told them.
Greg Burt, Director of Capitol Engagement for the California Family Council and a parent of an Elk Grove student, tried to explain to the school board that children should be taught to respect and treat people with dignity even if they have different views on sexuality. He also pointed to how the new curriculum only treats the LGBT view of sexuality and gender identity with respect.
“This curriculum you are considering tonight is biased and prejudice against the views on sexuality that many religious believers within this community have,” Burt told board members. “This curriculum is going to create a wedge between parents and school administrators, between children and their teachers, and between students of different faiths and perspectives. You have the ability to stop what our state politicians are demanding. Don’t use your power to simply indoctrinate students to believe the way you do.
Parents experienced even worse treatment at the Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District in Roseville last Thursday. They didn’t get seven viewing opportunities over a six month period to comment on textbooks from two publishers, like they did in Elk Grove. Dry Creek parents were simply told at the end of December that teachers had picked the new social studies curriculum for their kids, which they could come see at the district office. But parents were told they could only come during working hours over a 10-day period in January. Some parents scrambled to warn other about the controversial curriculum. A dozen showed up at a school board meeting last Thursday, but board members approved the textbooks anyway.
“I don’t particularly find it alarming and I don’t particularly find it to be persuasive, which is I think one of the themes that I’ve heard from our comments this evening,” DCJESD Trustee Scott Otsuka told parents, according to Fox 40.
School districts, like those in Elk Grove and Roseville, are introducing LGBT affirming social studies curriculum around that states in order to comply with a 2011 state law (FAIR Education Act – SB 48) requiring the contributions of LGBT figures be added to the curriculum. Although the California State Board of Education has a list of recommended textbooks, local school districts still have the final say on how the content is covered and at what grade levels.
Watch a video of the Feb. 5th Elk Grove Unified School District Board meeting here. Parent comments start at 2:04:21 minute mark and the school board comments supporting the curriculum start at the 3:14:30 min mark.