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LGBT Students Less Likely to Miss School When Exposed to Curriculum Supportive of Them

LGBT Students Less Likely to Miss School When Exposed to Curriculum Supportive of Them

Public school students in California will soon be exposed to an LGBT-inclusive curriculum after state education officials voted to include the accomplishments and struggles of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Americans into the state’s social studies courses.

"In the new curriculum, LGBT milestones will pop up in history and social studies lessons multiple times throughout elementary, middle, and high school,” said Yahoo! News.

"After the initial introduction about diverse families, fourth-grade students will learn about the emergence of gay rights advocacy groups in the 1950s and one of the nation’s first openly gay public officials, Harvey Milk. In eighth grade, students will learn about traditional gender norms and groups that rebelled against them when settling out West in the first half of the 20th century.”

According to the Associated Press, the decision to include LGBT history into the state curriculum passed without objection.

"During four hours of public testimony, dozens of speakers criticized the way the framework discusses Muslims, Hindus, Jews and Japan's use of 'comfort women' during World War II, but no one objected to the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights,” the Associated Press said.

This is good news for LGBT students in California and could potentially serve as inspiration for other states to do the same; in 2009, a National School Climate Survey from GLSEN found that "less than a fifth of the seven thousand students surveyed (17.9%) reported that LGBT-related topics were included in their textbooks or other assigned readings,” said ADL Curriculum Connections.

The survey found that when schools did have a curriculum supportive of LGBT individuals, "LGBT students were less likely to report hearing homophobic remarks or experiencing victimization at school, and more likely to report that school personnel and their peers intervened when homophobic remarks occurred.”

As a result, LGBT students in these schools were also less likely to miss school and therefore more likely to achieve better academic results.

California will be one of the first states to test out what kind of benefits introducing a state-wide curriculum including LGBT history will have.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor


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