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Politicians Rewrite History Books

Today, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 48 which requires students to learn about the accomplishments of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans in social science classes. I have received many phone calls and letters from constituents who were opposed to this legislation and the new mandate it would create to bring the politics of homosexuality and sexual identity into our public schools.

I strongly opposed this legislation and voted “No” on it when it came to the Assembly floor on July 5th. Despite my opposition and the opposition of my Republican colleagues, this bill passed the Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Brown.
This new law is flawed for both process and policy reasons. Process wise, it is the responsibility of the State Board of Education – not the Legislature – to adopt school curriculum. The Legislature has no business interfering with that process. As the Los Angeles Times said earlier this year regarding SB 48, “Politicians don’t write good textbooks, and they shouldn’t try.”

In terms of policy, the subject material this bill requires to be taught in our public schools has no historical value and should be left in the hands of parents, not educators. Furthermore, who gets to determine whether a historical figure was homosexual and by what criteria? The individual or group making this judgment call will be stating new “historical fact” from today forward. That is nonsense.

We have so many critical policy and economic issues that need to be addressed in our state. It is counterproductive to require social studies textbooks to accommodate new material at a time when our schools are already struggling to balance their budgets. Purchasing new textbooks is not how limited resources should be allocated during this difficult economic time. It is truly unfortunate that the Governor chose to sign this unnecessary and nonsensical piece of legislation.