"California has had enormous influence on the nation’s history textbooks in the past, and single-interest groups have long flocked to Sacramento to try to gain expanded, favorable inclusion," writes Gilbert T. Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council. "The LGBT lobby has been notably assertive."
But arguing over labels misses the point. What in the world is a television personality like Ellen DeGeneres doing in a first-grade social-studies textbook? If you ask, many educators will look at you funny. If you exclaim that these are little children, that lesbian is a complicated word for six-year-olds, or that age-inappropriate might be an understatement here, heads will shake. If you say that sexualizing historical figures like Emily Dickinson or Florence Nightingale marginalizes their achievements, they will think you are the problem to overcome.
LGBT awareness is one of several themes reshaping social studies/history programs. California mandates study of “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, European Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other ethnic and cultural groups.” State law prohibits the state board and the governing board of any school district from adopting textbooks or other instructional materials that contain any matter that “reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry.” Only textbooks assembled according to diversity’s catechism need apply for state approval.
Not just in California but nationwide, curriculum supervisors at all levels, by law or partiality, won’t consider volumes unless they align to multicultural premises. Old-style textbooks have been taken out of print. As a result, teachers and parents are finding it close to impossible to avoid lessons saturated in identity politics.