FAIR Education Act

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FAIR Education Act
Seal of California.svg

California State Legislation
 
Full name Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act
Status Passed
Introduced December 13, 2010
Assembly voted July 5, 2011
Senate voted April 14, 2011
Signed into law July 14, 2011
Sponsor(s) Sen. Mark Leno, Assem. Tom Ammiano
Governor Jerry Brown
Code Education Code
Section 51204.5, 51500, 51501, 60040, and 60044
Resolution SB 48
Website http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sb_48_bill_20110714_chaptered.html

Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act, also known as the FAIR Education Act (Senate Bill 48) and informally described by media outlets as the LGBT History Bill, is a California law which compels the inclusion of the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into educational textbooks and the social studies curricula in California public schools by amending the California Education Code. It also revises the previous designation of "black Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, [and] Pacific Island people" in that list into "Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and European Americans". It would also amend an existing law by adding sexual orientation and religion into a list of characteristics (which already includes race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and disability) that schools are prohibited from sponsoring negative activities about or teaching students about in an adverse way.

In particular, according to chief author Sen. Mark Leno, it "ensures that the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are accurately and fairly portrayed in instructional materials by adding LGBT people to the existing list of under-represented cultural and ethnic groups already included in the state’s inclusionary education requirements."

The bill was introduced into the Senate on December 13, 2010, and was finally passed 23-14 on April 14, 2011.[1] The bill was then passed by the Assembly on July 5 by a vote of 49-25.[2] Governor Jerry Brown, who has historically opposed Proposition 8 and has generally supported LGBT rights in the state, signed the bill into law on July 14. Governor Brown said however that state textbooks probably would not be updated to reflect the requirements of the law until 2015.[3]

It is supported by the GSA Network and Equality California, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights welcomed its ratification into law.[4] The California Teachers Association's President Dean Vogel stated, “We believe that curricula should address the common values of the society, promote respect for diversity and cooperation, and prepare students to compete in, and cope with a complex and rapidly evolving society. SB 48 does that by helping to ensure that curricular materials include the contributions of persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to the development of California and United States.”[5]

It is opposed by the state Republican Party and socially conservative organizations. A conservative group called Stop SB 48 is collecting signatures to place a referendum on the June 2012 statewide ballot. If successful, SB 48 would be repealed.[6] LGBT rights groups fear that it will be difficult to defend the law if it were to go to a popular vote.[7] It is notable that the law does not include an opt-out option for parents who do not wish to have their children learn about LGBT topics in school.

In October, 2011, the group failed to collect enough signatures for the issue to be placed on a referendum in June 2012. Opponents of the bill will have other opportunities to overturn the law via a ballot initiative or a constitutional amendment. The constitutional amendment option demands even more signatures and is thus more costly.[8][9] The repeal campaign has been accused of exaggerating the bill's effects in order to convince people to sign petitions. The Courage Campaign filed a formal complaint with the California Attorney General, District Attorney, and the Oceanside City Attorney on behalf of the witness, Max Disposti.[9][10] The Courage campaign also started an online petition asking for an investigation into the tactics of Stop SB 48.[11]

In November 2011, Stop SB 48 sent out an e-mail to their supporters telling them that they indeed plan to pursue a ballot initiative to try and repeal SB 48.[12] There are actually two proposals that were submitted to the California Attorney General to be cleared for the collection of signatures. One seeks to outright repeal SB 48, while the other seeks to grant parents the right to opt their children out of such instruction.[13] The initiative to repeal SB 48 failed to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, gathering only about 460,000 of the 504,760 required.[14] The other initiative was withdrawn.[15]

Legislative history[edit]

Session Bill number(s) Date introduced Sponsor(s) # of cosponsors Latest status
2010–2011 [SB 48] December 13, 2010 Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) 5 Passed in Senate Education Committee on March 23, 2011 on a 6-3 vote.
Passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 4, 2011 on a 3-2 vote.
Passed by the California Senate 23-14 on April 14, 2011
[?]  ? Assemb. Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) 13 Passed the Assembly (49-25) on July 5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Associated Press newswire (April 14, 2011). "Calif. Senate passes bill to teach gay history". CBS News. 
  2. ^ Neal Broverman (July 5, 2011). "Calif. Legislature Passes Gay Education Bill". The Advocate. 
  3. ^ CNN (July 15, 2011). "California governor signs bill requiring schools to teach gay history". CNN. 
  4. ^ "NCLR Applauds Governor Brown for Signing the Historic FAIR Education Act". National Center for Lesbian Rights. July 14, 2011. 
  5. ^ "BREAKING NEWS: California governor signs landmark LGBT education bill". SDGLN. July 14, 2011. 
  6. ^ Referendum filed to repeal SB 48
  7. ^ Hemmelgarn, Seth. "The Bay Area Reporter Online | EQCA: 'No illusion' on Stop SB 48". Ebar.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  8. ^ Resnick, Sofia. Campaign to repeal California LGBT-history law fails, battle not over, The American Independent, 2011-10-12 Retrieved 2011-10-13
  9. ^ a b Rayfield, Jillian. Group Against CA Gay History Law Fails To Get Enough Signatures For Repeal, 2011-10-13. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  10. ^ Bullock, Penn. Courage Campaign files complaint & requests investigation into Stop SB 48 tactics, 2011-10-02. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  11. ^ Call to action: Sign Courage Campaign's complaint against anti-Fair Act group's dishonest tactics Instinct Magazine, 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2011-10-13.
  12. ^ Bink, Adam (2011-11-01). "Stop SB 48 campaign: "We’re working on an initiative"". Prop 8 Trial Tracker. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  13. ^ Hemmelgarn, Seth (2011-11-24). "The Bay Area Reporter Online | SB 48 faces new repeal efforts". Ebar.com. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  14. ^ "Effort to undo California gay history law fails". The Associated Press. 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  15. ^ Laird, Cynthia (2012-01-26). "The Bay Area Reporter Online | News in Brief: SB 48 foe drops repeal efforts". Ebar.com. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 

External links[edit]