Schools must teach gay, disabled history

California’s new law adding gay history to the curriculum also requires teaching the history of disability rights activists, reports Sign On San Diego.

Helen Keller is an icon in the blind and deaf community and, thanks to “The Miracle Worker,” hers is one of the most recognizable names in American history.

But few social studies courses relate the role activist Justin Dart played in passing the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act that has changed the lives of millions of those who are blind, use wheelchairs or cannot hear.

It’s only the gay part that’s controversial, but what I can’t stand are the mentioning mandates. Mention disabled heroes, mention noble gays (“Frank Kameny . . . fired from the Army Map Service because he was gay”),  mention labor leaders (also specified by California law), mention business leaders (added to balance labor), mention women and listed minorities . . . And after all this hagio-trivia, be sure to teach critical thinking.


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  1. “And after all this hagio-trivia, be sure to teach critical thinking.”

    Very funny!

  2. Thank goodness California has solved all it’s other problems and has time to deal with critical issues like this!

  3. Maybe they should discuss the unintended consequences of some of this nonsense. I believe that about half as many disabled adults (of whom we have far more, due to the huge expansion of emotional disorders and funding) are working full-time than were doing so prior to the ADA legislation. Since the ADA regs re. workplace accommodations cost employers, particularly small businesses, significant money and ADA protections make it difficult-to-impossible to fire unsatisfactory hires, it’s much easier and safer to avoid hiring the disabled. Of course, expanded funding for those “unable to work” reduces their incentive to work.

    • You are going to need to provide evidence or cites for this. I call bullshit. Half as many are working as prior to ADA?

  4. Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:

    Let’s say you’re teaching a US History course in high school.

    You’ve got, what… 34 weeks maybe to teach 235 years of history? Let’s just look at maybe the top 34 highlights, 1 per week:

    1) Early Colonization
    2) French & Indian War
    3) Prelude to Revolution
    4) Revolution
    5) Constitutional development / Federalism debates
    6) Louisiana Purchase / Lewis & Clark
    7) War of 1812
    8) Jackson & The Indians
    9) Industrialization of Agriculture
    10) Monroe Doctrine
    11) California Gold Rush / Railroads
    12) War with Mexico
    13) Slavery & Racism: Douglass, Scott, Truth, Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    14) Prelude to war: slavery & politics
    15) Civil War
    16) Reconstruction
    17) Women’s Suffrage
    18) Injun Problems: Wounded Knee etc.
    19) Gilded Age, Industrialism, & Antitrust
    20) WW1
    21) Fallout: League of Nations, Treaty of Versailles
    22) Great Depression / New Deal
    23) WW2
    24) Cold War Genesis – The Atomic Age
    25) Korea and other Proxy Fights (Greece?)
    26) Sputnik and the Space Race
    27) Civil Rights, King, Malcom X, Riots
    28) Early Kennedy: Cuban Missile Crisis / Bay of Pigs
    29) Television and the New Politics
    30) Vietnam
    31) Nuclear Deterrence and MAD
    32) End of the Cold War
    33) Information Age: DARPA, the Internet, Microsoft, and Apple
    34) Middle East Entanglements and Terrorism

    There’s so much left out there — the list is missing entire wars. I didn’t even get a chance to talk about the labor movement or the Mormons.

    And you want to take the time to talk about Helen Keller? At least she’s legitimately famous and influential, I suppose. In 100 years, people will probably still be talking about her.

    People aren’t even really talking about Frank Kameny now. It’s not going to get any better in 100 years. And treating him as some sort of detached, token factoid, inserted into the curriculum to make someone else happy, isn’t doing the fellow any favors. Students instinctively realize when they’re learning for someone else’s purposes rather than for their own.

    What we should really do is simply require students to take a course in “Modern Social Issues and Historical Perspectives,” and dump all the ideology-driven content into that class.

    Then students can blow it off, sleep through it, and it can be ignored like it deserves.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Teaching activists’ agendas and lessons and critical thinking at the same time is like oil and water. Either you have critical thinking in which case the BS is seen as BS, or if you want the kids to ingest the BS and believe it, you can’t let them near critical thinking. Fortunately, it’s not on the syllabus, unless as a euphemism for dissing western civ.
    Of all the gays discharged for being gay, anybody know the percentage of those self-outing prior to deployment? Want to put that in the syllabus? Didn’t think so. Would you like to know the number of straight guys who tried that? Nope. Didn’t think so.

  6. Bill Leonard says:

    Let me see: Frank Kameny is important because he was fired from the Army Map Service because he was a homosexual…Is that like saying Henry Ford was important because he was a vicious anti-semite? Or maybe because he was the innovator of the then-revolutionary moving assembly line, and hence, the father of much modern manufacturing?

    This nonsense will go on, and on. And I predict more and more people will put their kids in private schools, or will home-school, until the public school system finally implodes.


  7. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Thinly Veiled–
    I think you are teaching the wrong units…I am a 5th grade teacher, also charged with teaching American History, but to conform to our very wise California legislation mandating LGBT inclusiveness in all K-12 history curricula, I propose the following changes for my history curriculum:

    1. Gay Subculture in Native American tribes and settlements
    2. Exploration and Colonization of the New World by previously unknown gay, lesbian and transgendered European explorers
    3. Analysis of heterosexist Catholic religious domination of the aforementioned gay Native American tribes
    4. The Colonial Era of America, focusing on LGBT issues of the 13 colonies
    5. Study of the homosexual cabinet members of King George III’s royal court and their effect on his foreign policy and the Church of England’s homophobia, which caused the American Patriots to rebel every bit as much as taxation without representation
    6. Study of the American Revolution, featuring Deborah Sampson, a transvestite, possibly bisexual, Patriot soldier (if time allows, we may get around to studying the Founders)
    7. Westward Expansion, the Transcontinental Railroad and the Gold Rush , which were only made possible with the help of the LGBT commmunities…primary sources from mining camp bordellos will be featured
    8. Lincoln and the Civil War…I plan to use the book about the secret gay life of Abraham Lincoln as the cornerstone of this unit
    9. Reconstruction…not of the South, but of the history curriculum to figure out the LGBT angle around this time period
    10. Finally , a natural…study of the “Gay Nineties”,,,the title should be self-explanatory

    • Thinly Veiled Anonymity says:


      I, of course, was talking about a high school class; they’re rather innocent, you know.

      As a 5th grade teacher, your students are obviously a more appropriate audience for talking about the wondrous variety of human sexual expression and identities.

  8. Richard Aubrey says:

    Thinly. I gather Kevin Jennings is looking for a job. Perhaps he could be a guest speaker, with slides.