- Earlier this month, Illinois became the fifth state to pass a requirement that schools adopt LGBT-inclusive history curriculum by the 8th grade, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, and District Administration reports Maryland could be the next to move in this direction with a similar standard under consideration.
- Research institution Child Trends found bullying declines when schools adopt an inclusive curriculum, and academic results increase as well.
- Experts quoted said that when teaching about LGBTQ history and people, educators should weave the figures and moments into the thread of history, rather than have them stand out as separate.
Giving students material in school that reflects them can help them better envision a future for themselves, helping them see a path that they can follow in their lives, experts say.
Schools and districts are starting down this path by looking to adopt curriculum — both historical materials and those that teach about the modern day — that reflect students and their backgrounds. Their goal is that students see themselves in the books and materials in their classrooms, and in doing so become more engaged with what they study.
One of the latest districts to move in this direction is New York City, which is adopting a culturally responsive curricula, with unanimous support from the city’s Panel for Educational Policy and Chancellor Richard Carranza.
Cultural diversity in curriculum is important, but so too, as District Administration notes, is diversity around gender, sexuality and ableism. California’s K-8 history textbooks, for example, must include contributions from the LGBTQ community. Also, schools are not just eying books they bring into classrooms, but the tools with which they teach, such as technology materials, ensuring that those that are adopted are accessible for all students.
But first, district administrators and educators should have conversations about why having inclusive lessons is important. “Few of us grew up knowing anything about LGBTQ history,” Rob Darrow, director of research and professional Learning with the Safe Schools Project Santa Cruz County, California, told District Administrator. “Because of that, most administrators feel uncomfortable with the topic, like any of us would with any topic we don’t know much about.”