In 2011, California adopted the so-called FAIR Education Act, which is the teaching of the contribution of people with disabilities, from various religious backgrounds, and LGBTQ individuals.
The district spent a year piloting several units of the new curriculum, introducing it to 35 teachers in the district schools' majority, deputy superintendent Kathleen Pon told Sacbee.
Opponents felt that elementary students were not fit to understand sexual orientation.
“We believe that anyone who has made a significant contribution to society should, of course, be included in our history textbooks,” said Rachel Crutchfield, spokeswoman for Informed Parents of Rocklin. “However, the concept of sexual orientation is far too complex of a topic for elementary-aged children to be introduced to at school. Children in second grade simply do not have the tools to comprehend sexuality, nor do we want them to. Let’s let kids be kids.”
But Rocklin math teacher Amy Bentley recalls that “many students enter middle school already knowing they’re different, which is why it’s so important for this curriculum to be adopted at the elementary level.”
The second-grade textbook called “Studies Weekly" describes Sally Ride as a “good example for all females,” and states she “joined NASA and became the first female and first lesbian American astronaut.”
Informed Parents of Rocklin had proposed to the district an alternative curriculum entitled “Exploring Social Studies” that meet California’s educational standards but without clearly indicating the sexual orientation of LGBT personalities like Sally Ride.
“The fact of the matter is there are many figures who were homosexual, and their sexuality greatly impacted their life. To not say that would be offering an incomplete picture of history,” explained Whitney High student Rohan Sharma.
After listening to many testimonies, Rocklin Unified School District trustees felt it is important for children to grow up with an apprenticeship that identifies the sexual orientation of the people mentioned in the curriculum.
Now adopted, this curriculum will be implemented next year in the Rocklin Unified School.
Other similar debates have taken place throughout the State of California. El Grove Unified and San Juan Unified, both located around Sacramento, are also planning to adopt this new history and social studies curriculum clearly identifying LGBT people.