California Educator

March 2012

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TAKING A STAND continued from page 35 It was designed to reduce bullying by show- ing role models to students. We do know that role modeling works. When students see that a variety of groups have made con- tributions, it creates a more tolerant atmo- sphere for everyone in school," Miller says. The bill has forged a coali- tion between the GLBT and disabled communities, which are working together to pro- tect the law and to develop resources for teaching. "Learning the contribu- tions made by activists of the disability rights move- ment is essential to a full understanding of our his- tory, just as an under- standing of the civil rights movement and the pioneers of wom- en's suffrage and the LGBT rights move- ment are an essential part of our history lessons," says Teresa Favuzzi, execut ive director of the Cali- fornia Foundation for Independent Liv- ing Centers. "The FAIR Educa- young people to become citizens, and that's what this work is about." As a result of budget cuts, however, the C. Scott Miller tion Act truly is a step in the right direction, and it's important for us to make sure that this landmark vic- tory that promotes under s t anding in our schools is upheld because it's time for our history classes and textbooks to accurately reflect the rich and diverse history of California." Don Romesburg, a Sonoma State Uni- Right now, we're trying to figure out what it all means. Materials have to be historically accurate. You can't just assume someone is GLBT, or a minority, or disabled. But this allows us the opportunity to present the positive contributions these groups have made. state process for the development and review of K-8 instructional materials is on hold, and adoption of new material may not come before 2015. When it does occur, the adoption of new textbooks that include contributions by GLBT people is likely to have a ripple effect around the coun- try, since California's huge text- book market drives the rest of the country. Miller predicts it will make for interesting dis- cussion in states that haven't yet adopted a law similar to SB 48. In this way, Cali- fornia once again breaks new ground. Despite the absence of textbooks, the law remains in effect, and school districts will be expected to comply with its requirements (see resources sidebar on page 35). Decisions on materials, however, will be up to the indi- vidual school districts. The new law does not dictate when, where and how much time should be devoted to incorpo- rating these new groups into lessons. "Right now, we're trying to figure out what it all means," Miller says. versity professor of women's and gender studies who was a consultant for the Gay- Straight Alliance on the bill, says it's been inspirational to see how well the disability folk and the GLBT communities are work- ing together. "Both groups are groups that are seen as unwelcome and unwanted. It's fascinating to see how much they overlap. Ultimately, education is about teaching 36 California Educator / March 2012 "Materials have to be historically accurate. You can't just assume someone is GLBT, or a minority, or disabled. But this allows us the opportunity to present the positive contribu- tions these groups have made." By Dina Martin MORE INFO Build your awareness of GLBT and disability issues at CTA's annual Equity and Human Rights Conference and GLBT Conference. Register at Susan Solomon, United Educators of San Francisco secretary, pickets outside an Oakland theater where Michelle Rhee is speaking. RHEE-DICULOUS REFORMS Michelle Rhee takes her unproven reform ideas on the road WHO IS MICHELLE RHEE? She's not a Hollywood celebrity or an elected politician. But she is a self-proclaimed public education reformer whose con- frontational approach to education reform has landed her on the cover of Time and Newsweek magazines, as well as on "Oprah" and a number of other TV programs. It's not her approach to education reform that's so disconcerting, it is the reforms themselves. Now based in Sacramento, Rhee wants to carry on methods she touted during her 2007-10 stint as chancellor of the Washington, D.C., school system, where she fired hundreds of teachers, closed schools, and sparked a standardized test erasure scandal still under federal inves- tigation. She supports unproven schemes like school vouchers (twice rejected by

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