The FAIR Education Act The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act SB 48 signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, July 14, 2011
According to cosponsors Equality California and the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, the purpose of Senate Bill 48 (SB 48) was to end the exclusion of LGBT history in education and to promote school safety. After it was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it became the FAIR Education Act.
The purpose of the act is based on a study by California Safe Schools Coalition showing that inclusion of LGBT people in instructional materials is linked to greater student safety at school for both straight and gay students and lower rates of bullying.
The California SB 48 Fact Sheet states that in schools where the contributions of the LGBT community are included in educational instruction, bullying declined by over half, and LGBT students were more likely to feel they have an opportunity to make positive contributions at school. SB 48’s changes to the California Education code took effect in January 2012, instructing public schools and the State Board to:
1. Add instruction in history-social science about the role and contribution of persons with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans; and other ethnic and cultural groups to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States, with a particular emphasis on portraying the role of these groups in contemporary society,
2. Prohibit teachers from instructing, or a school district from sponsoring, any activity that promotes discriminatory bias on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation, and 3. Adopt textbooks and instructional materials that accurately portray groups as identified.
Resources to Support the FAIR Education Act California Department of Education
California’s Diversity: Past and Present – Lessons for the FAIR Education Act of 2011 This resource developed by Constitutional Rights Foundation provides a number of lessons that can be used to comply with the FAIR Education Act. Lessons are aligned to the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts http://ca3rsproject.org/diversity/california-diversity-past-and-present.pdf
Finding Common Ground in Public Schools on the Difficult Issue of Student Sexual Orientation Policy This publication of the California Three Rs Project (Rights, Responsibilities, and Respect) describes the need for schools to build processes for creating policies on the principles of the First Amendment for implementing the FAIR Education Act and similar policies intended to respect the rights of people to have differing views based on religious and other understandings. The publication also describes the responsibility imperative to protect the physical and psychological safety of young people in their critical formative years. The California Three Rs is a project of Constitutional Rights Foundation with support from the California County Superintendents Educational Services Committee and the Religious Freedom Center at the Newseum. http://ca3rsproject.org/pdfs/Hot%20Topics.pdf
Public Schools and Sexual Orientation A few years ago, the First Amendment Center brought together representatives from the American Association of School Administrators, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), BridgeBuilders, the Christian Educators Association International, and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to develop a consensus document on a process to resolve conflicts related to sexual orientation and public schools. The document this group developed, entitled Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment Framework for Finding Common Ground, is available in pdf format at the First Amendment Center website. Public Schools and Sexual Orientation (PDF)
ONE Archives Foundation The ONE Archives Foundation, in partnership with ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, is the country’s leading expert on LGBTQ history and has been involved on many levels with the implementation of California’s Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act (SB 48), which was signed into law in the state of California on July 5, 2011. http://www.onearchives.org/education-2/education/
Lesson Plans on Bullying, Bias, and Diversity This resource page, recommended by the First Amendment Center and created by GLSEN, offers lesson plans to help students develop the skills to interact in a diverse world. https://www.glsen.org/educate/resources/lesson-plans