Education in ‘The True Freedom State’ – “Progressive” California Governor Makes LGBTQ+ Education Mandatory and Bans Restricted Reading Lists

California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken a significant step to safeguard the content of textbooks in the state’s schools by signing a groundbreaking bill into law. The legislation, which Newsom declared as “long overdue,” bars school boards from rejecting textbooks based on what they teach about different races, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

A Stand Against School Book Bans

Newsom’s decision to sign this bill comes at a crucial juncture, as debates around the censorship and banning of school books have escalated across the United States. 

Conservative-dominated school boards in various states have imposed restrictions primarily centered on textbook depictions of sexuality and LGBTQ+ history.

Fighting For Choice

In a statement, Governor Newsom passionately stated, “From Temecula to Tallahassee, fringe ideologues across the country are attempting to whitewash history and ban books from schools. With this new law, we’re cementing California’s role as the true freedom state: a place where families – not political fanatics- have the freedom to decide what’s right for them.”

California Sets an Example for Other States

What makes this California legislation particularly significant is its immediate effect. The bill has been put into law quickly, setting an example for other states dealing with similar issues.

The spark for this legislative move ignited when a Southern California school board rejected a social studies curriculum for elementary students earlier this year. 

The curriculum in question included supplementary material educating students about Harvey Milk, a prominent San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate.

California’s Commitment to LGBTQ+ History Education

A 2011 state law mandates the teaching of the historical contributions of gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans in California schools.

Newsom’s swift response to the school board’s decision to reject the curriculum was resolute. He threatened the board with a $1.5 million fine, which led to the quick approval of a modified curriculum that met state requirements.

The Core of the Bill

This new legislation ensures that school boards cannot ban instructional materials or library books solely on the basis that they provide “inclusive and diverse perspectives in compliance with state law,” as stated in a press release from Newsom’s office.

However, the bill’s journey through the state legislature was not without its share of heated debates. 

The discussions revolved around the delicate balance between the state’s role in approving local curriculum and the lawmakers’ responsibility to ensure that students get exposed to diverse and historically accurate portrayals of their nation’s past.

Strengthening Penalties for Child Traffickers

In addition to this groundbreaking education legislation, Governor Newsom signed a bill on the same day increasing penalties for child traffickers. 

The bill had faced initial opposition from Democrats in the Assembly Public Safety Committee earlier this year. 

They raised concerns that the legislation might inadvertently criminalize victims of child trafficking. However, after Governor Newsom expressed his disapproval of the bill’s initial failure to advance, lawmakers revisited the proposal.

A Pivotal Moment for California’s Progressive Policies

Republican state Sen. Shannon Grove, the bill’s author, introduced amendments to safeguard child trafficking victims from being unjustly criminalized, ultimately paving the way for the bill’s successful passage.

As California continues to lead the way in progressive policies, these recent actions underscore the state’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. 

For many, the textbook law stands as a sign of educational freedom and tolerance in a nation facing many divisions.

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The post Education in ‘The True Freedom State’ – “Progressive” California Governor Makes LGBTQ+ Education Mandatory and Bans Restricted Reading Lists first appeared on The Net Worth Of.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Sheila Fitzgerald