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Reader opinion: Gays in textbooks? There's a better way than 'sanitized truth'

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Politicians have no business writing textbooks, writes the editorial board on the issue of liberals in the Legislature pushing a bill that would require textbooks to include the role  and contributions of GLBT Americans.

That's not to say textbooks shouldn't address the struggle against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Though there is still a long way to go, gays and lesbians have made huge gains in recent decades and are now making history with their quest for full marriage rights. These battles no doubt have a legitimate place in the social studies curriculum. But that's a decision for educators and textbook writers to make.

Opinions are across the board on this issue, from our cartoonist Ted Rall, who weighed in with a controversial cartoon that ruffled the right, to our readers, who have had this to say:

Students deserve to learn the truth and…

Excellent editorial. Politicians should stay out of the classroom and leave the books to professionals. Politicians generally lack a scholarly historical understanding, and they always pander to whoever donates the most to the election campaigns: gays, minorities, majorities, businesses, isolationists, neo-cons, unions, and the list goes on....  California's children deserve to learn the truth, not an imaginary, sanitized view of history.

--krvonl

…Not a sanitized version of history

I could not agree more. Take the African American experience during WWII. Other than the fact it was mentioned some black soldiers fought, there was no mention of the Double V protest (since the white powers that be including J. Edgar Hoover thought it subversive) or the fact that white military leaders thought black men too stupid to fly planes (it was official policy) until labor shortages in 1942 forced them to create black squadrons (which earned the highest awards of any squadron).

But this was all sanitized since it was more important what the white people did.

And the risk is even greater today as today's children look at the world "as is" and assume it has always been this way. So they are ignorant of what it took to get it here.

--Jason Writer

 Can California even afford new history books?

So does this mean that CA has the money to replace all of the history books? Oh, I forgot. We are $26 billion in the hole. Or will this be another reason to attempt to raise our taxes. Seriously, is the state and its gay/bisexual/transgender lobbyists attempting to "out" these people as a majority in society? They comprise approximately 2% at most. I would think that rather than making it a point of focusing on their sexual preference that their accomplishments should be the focus. This is not sex ed. We are talking history. Overall, stupid idea and a waste of money.

--kcsrr15

The editorial board’s take is "polite," but deeply hostile

It's not a "preference" and it's not a "lifestyle." Teaching has long been run by the Heterosexual Dictatorship (Christopher Isherwood's ever-useful term) Fighting back against it is no easy task. But it's clear that excuses for writing gays and lesbians out of history are no longer tenable. The Times is aware fo this, but fearful of facing the truth. For means ceding power to the formerly despised. Hence this "polite" but deeply hostile Editorial.

--DavidEhrenstein

Hopefully Gov. Brown will see the wisdom of what the Times' editors have said 

Regular readers of the LA Times know that the Times’ editors are pro-gay, yet in this editorial they have spoken even-handedly and wisely. The Times’ editors should be commended for being willing to stand against those that they usually fight for (gays) when those same people have a bad idea. Legislating gay achievements into school textbooks is wrong-headed and starts us down the slippery slope of every group that feels it isn’t properly represented trying to force a re-write of textbooks to give them “their due.” It shouldn’t be the job of the legislature to legislate the “correct view” of whatever group has the legislature’s influence. Politicians (both liberal and conservative) should stay out of mandating their pet-beliefs in textbooks. Public schools should be for everyone not just gays or conservatives. Hopefully Governor Brown and others will see the wisdom of what the Times' editors have said and leave the writing of textbooks to others who are more objective and not beholden to special interest groups. 

--balvord

RELATED:

Why is there so much contempt for teachers?

Catholics and gays: Closer than you think

Reader opinion: Debating The Defense of Marriage Act

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Illustration depicting ideologically tainted textbooks. Credit: Tim Brinton/NewsArt.com

 

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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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