Thursday, July 14, 2011

CA Governor Signs Landmark LGBT Education Bill

Today we have great news out of California, where Governor Jerry Brown signed the FAIR act into law.  The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act (SB 48) will ensure the inclusion of fairly and accurately portrayed LGBT civil rights movement history and contributions of the diverse LGBT community in social science instruction, thereby enriching the learning experiences of all students and promoting an atmosphere of safety and respect in California schools. SB 48 was authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by Equality California and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

Studies have shown that inclusion of LGBT people in instructional materials is linked to greater student safety and lower rates of bullying.  In schools where the contributions of the LGBT community are included in educational instruction, bullying declined by over half and LGBT students were more likely to feel they have an opportunity to make positive contributions at school. 

The FAIR Education Act will bring classroom instruction into alignment with existing non-discrimination laws in California and would add the LGBT community to the existing list of underrepresented cultural and ethnic groups, which are covered by current law related to inclusion in textbooks and other instructional materials in schools.

This is the first law of its kind in the nation – congratulations to all of the strong advocates in California for their impassioned and historic work on getting this bill passed into law.

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