California has a law which may be applicable to preventing physical anti-LGBT abuse in schools. [See Ann.Cal.Educ.Code § 48950].
You may locate any school or school district in your state by going to the following search engine:
American School Directory
An online version of the Education Codeis at
The California Education Code (Section 48907) guarantees that "students of the public schools shall have the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press including, but not limited to, the use of bulletin boards, the distribution of printed materials or petitions, the wearing of buttons, badges, and other insignia, and the right of expression in official publications." The only exceptions are for material that is "obscene, libelous, or slanderous" or "which so incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts on school premises or the violation of lawful school regulations, or the substantial disruption of the orderly operation of school."
The California Department of Education's Web site has much useful information. USE IT!There you can find minutes of State Board meetings, press releases and news from the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office, and much more. The CDE's Home Page is
Currently, California is still technically a state adoption state regarding textbooks and curricular standards (which are called Frameworks; these are discussed below).
Schedule for Curriculum Framework Development and Adoption of Instructional Resources:
Updated by the State Board of Education on April 10, 1992; put out by Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Office, California Departmentof Education
The Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell's home page is:
The State Board of Education's home page is :
There you will find a list of current members and their contact info. The Board itself may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
The State Board of Education recommends textbooks in various subject areas, but does not require the use of any one textbook. Note that, despite attempts by the Board President to paint the Board as uninvolved in the development of curricular materials, it actually plays a key role in that the Board SETS EVALUATION CRITERIA WHICH THE CURRICULUM COMMISSION AND AFFILIATED BODIES FOLLOW CLOSELY WHEN REVIEWING MATERIALS. NO SCHOOL CAN USE STATE FUNDS FOR MATERIALS WHICH HAVE NOT PASSED THIS "LEGAL COMPLIANCE TEST."
The process, step by step, for California's textbook and instructional material adoption is as follows:
The State Board also approves curricular Frameworks in various subject areas: Health/Physical Education, History-Social Science, Visual and Performing Arts, Science, Foreign Language, Mathematics, and English-Language Arts/English as a Second Language (ESL). Frameworks are either updated or renewed every 7 years. The Frameworks set broad content guidelines and minimum requirements; they are not specific mandates. Many of the actual curricular decisions are made at the school board level and, therefore, local politics will become increasingly important.
THE CALIFORNIA EDUCATION CODE: The "Ed Code" is, literally, THE LAW regarding education in the State. Many provisions of the Code are specifically and deliberately homophobic. In 1987, for example, at the behest of Lou Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, the State Legislature passed the Russell amendment to the Education Code (Section 51553, b-6). State Senator Russell's (he a good buddy of Sheldon) amendment requires that all textbooks used in California's public schools must "teach honor and respect for monogamous, heterosexual marriage."
The California Board of Education, dominated for years by un-elected conservatives who are either intentionally homophobic or homo-ignorant and therefore unconsciously homophobic, also enforces a state-wide policy that the subject of homosexuality "should not be introduced before the seventh grade" [because it is officially considered "controverial" and relegated to the back of the guidelines along with masturbation, contraception, etc.] and that "family values and monogamous, heterosexual relationships are [to be] affirmed throughout" ("Family Life/Sex Education Guidelines," State of California, Department of Education). Additionally, whenever the topic of homosexuality IS introduced, "the implications of promiscuity for the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases should be clearly explained." The guidelines also stress the "need" to "remind" students that they might be confused, rather than LGBT. This is another clear mark of the hand of Sheldon, who believes LGBTs "suffer" from Gender Identity Disorder (i.e. are sick and need treatment to be cured...treatment such as reparative therapy, confinement in institutions, shock therapy, etc. All this is still allowed under the Am. Psychiatric Association's definition of GID, which applies to LGBT youth.) Unfortunately, the previous State Superintendent, Bill Honig, probably shared Sheldon's view that LGBT youth are confused, passing through a phase, etc.
The Board of Education is a nine-member body that is appointed by the Governor. All regular (non ex-officio) members are Republicans, ranging from "moderate" to extremely conservative. The President of the Board is Mrs. Marion McDowell. Her address is 896 Bauer Drive, San Carlos, CA 94070; phone 1-415-591-5949. Her term expires in 1998. She is not a hard-line right-winger, having supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the 1993 Health Framework adoption, but has consistently stonewalled any attempts made by The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project to get the Board to commit to both a consistent inclusion of sexual orientation in all Frameworks and to get the Board to move beyond the rhetoric of inclusion to actually performing inclusive acts (e.g., insisting that publishers include accurate information).
The Board itself can be reached at CA State Board of Education, 721 Capitol Mall, POB 944272, Sacramento CA 94244-2720. Phone: 916-657-5478.
An interesting article on the Board and its relative power in state education issues from the January 4, 1999 issue of the San Francisco Chronicle can be found at:
The state of Virginia does it, yet California, which fancies itself a leader in educational policy matters, does not. The State of Virginia's Board of Education holds ITS public hearings in a truly effective manner: hearings are held ALL OVER the state DURING EVENING HOURS, so that the public can actually take part in them. On the other hand, in California, the process seems designed to preclude any possibility of effective public input: the California Board of Education holds all its important hearings ONLY in remote SACRAMENTO and ONLY DURING THE NORMAL WORKDAY. This makes it exceedingly difficult for the average student or working parent, for example, to participate, giving free reign for professional lobbyists and hired consultants to dominate the hearings. HOWEVER, there is hope. SENATE BILL 430, by Senator Greene, proposes, among other things, that the State Board hold regional public hearings throughout the state on the current frameworks for the purpose of determining the degree of focus within each curriculum area.
Note also that, despite previous assertions by the State Board that "it is too late to change things," it is NEVER too late. Not only were materials altered at the moment of adoption (Decision Development Corporation's "Ancient World," per Curriculum Commission minutes of July 1995, but in our experience EVEN AFTER FINAL ADOPTION, materials have been changed. The case in point is that, while we were told we were "too late" in July, August, September, and October of 1990 in requesting inclusion in the history texts, in MARCH and MAY of the following year, the publishers whose materials had been adopted gleefully announced they had managed to include a whole new chapter on the Gulf War of January 1991.
The working body of the Board of Education is called the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission. The Curriculum Commission is composed of 16 commissioners, all of whom are professional educators at various educational levels (i.e., elementary school through university), and two liaisons from the Board of Education. Commissioners are appointed for a four-year term, and any California resident can apply. Most Curriculum Commission members are appointed by the State Board of Education; in addition, 1 member is appointed by the Governor, 1 by the State Senate, and 1 by the State Assembly.
The Curriculum Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Education regarding textbook adoption and the content of curriculum Frameworks. The process of review and evaluation of potential classroom materials is long and involved, WHICH TRANSLATES INTO MANY OPPORTUNITIES FOR INPUT! It includes Instructional Resource Evaluation Panels (IREPs). These consist largely of educators BUT the Commission seeks nominations, including self-nominations, from the public, SO LGBT educators and LGBT-supportive educators should get on the Commission's mailing list to receive the calls for nominations (which come out at various times and address various subject matter areas). The Commission ALSO puts the materials proposed for adoption on display throughout the state for public comment. The display areas are called Learning Resource Display Centers [LRDCs]. A list is included below. EQUCATIONAL EQUITY ACTIVISTS ARE URGED TO VISIT THEIR NEAREST LRDC and then send comments in writing to the Commission and the Board. If you don't think this is important, think about this: THE FUNDAMENTALISTS DO.
Peg Gardner, LRDC #1
Humboldt County Schools
901 Myrtle Ave.
Eureka CA 95501
707 445 7076
FAX 707 445 7143
Tim McClure, LRDC #3
Attention: Barbara Clarey
Butte County Office of Education
5 County Center Drive
Oroville CA 95965
916 538 7231
FAX 916 438 7846 or 7864
Penny Kastanis, LRDC #5
Sacramento County Office of Education
9738 Lincoln Village Drive
Sacramento CA 95827-4455
916 228 2344
FAX 916 228 2493
Barbara Duffy/Karen Elizabeth Smith
Sonoma County Office of Education
5340 Skylane Boulevard
Santa Rosa CA 95403-1082
707 524 2836
FAX 707 578 0220
V. Ruth Smith, LRDC #8
Stanislaus County Office of Education
801 County Center III Court
Modesto CA 95355
209 525 4993
FAX 209 525 4984
Ellis Vance, LRDC #10
Fresno County Office of Education
1111 Van Ness
Fresno CA 93271-2000
209 265 3089
FAX 209 237 3525
Donna Bessant, LRDC #11
Monterey Peninsula U.S.D.
540 Canyon del Rey
Monterey CA 93940
408 899 7311
FAX 408 899 2165
Laurie Maclin, LRDC #12
Kern County Supt. Of Schools Ofc.
705 South Union
Bakersfield CA 93307
805 636 4764
FAX 805 398 3656
Lorna Lueck, LRDC#13
Library, University of California Curriculum Lab
Santa Barbara CA 93106
805 893 3060
FAX 805 893 4676
(PRINT SAMPLES ONLY)
Judy Headley, Co-Director, LRDC#13
Santa Barbara Co. Office of Education
4400 Cathedral Oaks Drive
Santa Barbara CA 93111
805 964 4711 x247
FAX 805 683 4778
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (CORRESPONDENCES AND TECHNOLOGY SAMPLES ONLY)
Nancy Harlan, LRDC #15
San Bernadino County Office of Education
601 North "E" St.
San Bernadino CA 92410-3093
909 387 3151
fax 909 387 4481 or 387 8950
Macintosh technology resources showcase
Sandra Weiss, lRDC #16
LA Unified School District
3rd St. Annex, Room 180
1320 West #rd St.
Los Angeles CA 90017
213 625 6994
FAX 213 625 5218
Zhita Rea, LRDC #17
Los Angeles County Office of Education
Pullias Reference Center
9300 Imperial Highway
Downey CA 90242-2890
310 922 6877
FAX 310 940 1699
Mary Ann Liette, LRDC #18
Riverside County Office of Education
Riverside CA 92502
FAX 909 682 2024
MLiette@internet.RCOE.K12.ca.us (SAMPLES ONLY) IBM technology resources showcase
Mary Ann Liette, LRDC #18
Riverside County Office of Education
3939 13th St.
Riverside CA 92502
FAX 909 682 2024
MLiette@internet.RCOE.K12.ca.us (CORRESPONDENCES ONLY)
Jane Periolat, LRDC #19
Orange County Dept. of Ed
Building "B," Room 1031
200 Kalmus Drive
Costa Mesa CA 92627
714 966 4331
FAX 714 434 0231
Marvin Barbula, LRDC #21
San Diego County Office of Education
6401 Linda Vista Road, Rm 209
San Diego CA 92111-7399
619 292 3608
FAX 619 467 1549
Sandi Adams, LRDC #22
CA Dept.of Ed. CFIR Office
721 Capitol Mall, 6th Floor
Sacramento CA 95814
916 657 3207
FAX 916 657 5437
Rovina Salinas, LRDC #24
Contra Costa County Office of Education
77 Santa Barbara Road
Pleasant Hill CA 94523-4215
510 942 3370
Fax 510 942 3480
Maxine Driscoll/Linda Gavin, LRDC #26
San Francisco Unified School District
Textbook, Media and Library Services
2550 25th Ave. Room 2
San Francisco CA 94116
415 759 2955
FAX 415 759 2903
Karol Thomas, LRDC #27
San Mateo County Office of Education
The SMERC Library
101 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City CA 94065-1064
415 802 5655
FAX 415 802 5665
Sharon Twitty, LRDC #28
Merced County Office of Education
632 West 13th St.
Merced CA 95340
209 385 8361
FAX 209 385 8452
Karen Anderson, Advisor 209-385-8362 or email@example.com (CORRESPONDENCES ONLY)
Connie Vincent, LRDC #29
Inyo County Supt. of Schools Office
135 Jackson St.
Independence CA 93526
619 878 2426
FAX 619 878 2279
Kathy Mason, LRDC #30
Tulare County Dept. of Ed.
7000 Doe Ave. Suite A
Visalia CA 93291
209 651 3042; FAX 209 651 1012
Mary Louise Brady, LRDC #31
CA Polytechnic State U
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
805 756 2273; FAX 805 756 1415
Mary Ann Liette, LRDC #32
Attention: Norman Diggs
Riverside County Office of Ed
Education Service Center
47-336 Oasis St.
Indio CA 92201
619 342 3518; FAX 619 775-5078
Parnelli Sharp, LRDC #33
Ofc. of Ventura County Supt.of Schools
570 Airport Way
Camarillo CA 93010
805 388 4408
FAX 805 388 4427
Lorene Sisson, LRDC #34
San Jose State University
College of Education
Sweeney Hall, Room 332
San Jose CA 95192-0071
408 924 3790 and 924 3600
FAX 408 924 3713
The Commission itself therefore does most of the substantive policy work regarding curricular content, although the Board of Education has final say. The Commission meets several times a year (lately it's been bimonthly instead of monthly due to budget cuts), and Commission subcommittees work between each scheduled Commission meeting. Most of the Commission subcommittes are subject area subcommittees that mirror the subject areas of the Frameworks themselves.
The Curriculum Commission's web site is http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/. Unfortunately it doesn't yet list the current Commission membership.
For further info, contact
Tracy Yee (Commission Secretary), 916-657-5436 or
Gaye Smoot (Commission Liaison), 916-657-3617
The Curriculum Commission is supported by an administrative staff of approximately 15 people. Some staff members work with specific subject area committees, while others provide technical or administrative support for the entire Commission. For a complete list of staff, write to Glen Thomas, Director, Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Office, 721 Capitol Mall, P.O. Box 944272, Sacramento, CA 94244-2720. A very helpful and professional DOE staffer is Nancy Sullivan, (phone= 916- 654-1123)
There are also consultants who work with subject area committees. Dr. Shirley Holder Hazlett is the director of Healthy Kids/Healthy California, and works with the Curriculum Commission and the State Board to implement the Health education guidelines. She is open to including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered materials in health curricula; however, by law, she can only work with school districts that approach her, and, out of choice, she will not push school districts that are reluctant. Gail Maurer is another Healthy Kids/Healthy California consultant working on HIV Prevention Education. They can both be reached at the Curriculum Frameworks address above, and their phone number is 916-657-3247 and fax is 916-657-5149.
Dr. Diane Brooks is a consultant working in History, which is in the process of undergoing an update. Right now, "historians" with whom she has contracted are working on a supplement to the History framework on recent U.S. and world history. THIS IS A GREAT CHANCE TO SHOEHORN US IN THERE...GIVE HER A CALL. MEET WITH HER. FIND OUT WHO THE HISTORIANS ARE. MEET WITH THEM. PROVIDE THEM WITH INCLUSIVE MATERIALS AND DOCUMENTATION.
She is also at work on implementing U.S. Department of Education projects and is liaison with the History Standards Advisory Committee. She responded to our initial letter requesting information as to how lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered materials were to be included to History materials. However, when we expressed our dissatisfaction with her ideas, she did not respond and has consistently ignored any of our follow-up letters. She can also be reached at the Curriculum Frameworks address above.
Since Brooks is so unresponsive, try contacting also the Chair of the Commission's History-Social Science Subject Matter Committee (presently Charles Kloes) to request inclusion. They are presently working on the "evaluation instrument and the quality indicators" for the next adoption, which will occur in 1998.
The Department's document entitled (we kid you not!) "Handbook on the Rights and Responsibilities fo School Personnel and Students in the Areas of Providing Moral, Civic, and Ethical Education, Teaching About Religion, Promoting Responsible Attitudes and Behaviors, and Preventing and Responding to Hate Violence Education" (whew!) has just been updated!!! GET A COPY, EXTRACT THE USEFUL LANGUAGE, AND FOLLOWUP BY USING ITS LANGUAGE OF INCLUSION TO OBTAIN INCLUSION RE LGBT INFORMATION.
California's Commission on Teacher Credentialing can be reached at 1812 9th St, Sacramento CA 95814. The voice mail (horrendous) is 916-445-7254. If calling from a touch-tone, as soon as you connect push 1 -- means you are calling from a touch-tone -- then push 2, then push 1 to get to the Professional Standards Division, which deals with investigations and discipline. Their hours are M-F 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Pacific Time. You can also try 916-445-0184. Their FAX number is 916-323-6735. The Chair of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is Verna Dautreive. She is responsible for the whole Commission, which oversees the Committee on Credentials. The Committee on Credentials is apparently either conservative, misguided, or panicked with homophobia, because it recently made a very prejudicial ruling against two San Francisco teachers. The Chair of the Commission's Committee on Credentials, the seven-member committee which made this ominous and misguided decision, is Barbara Boyle. The CTC's Executive Director is Philip Fitch. From our experiences with CTC in 1995, it seems clear that CTC is undereducated re LGBTQ matters, to the point that its ignorance manifests itself as homophobia. This was evidenced by an unwise decision re two San Francisco teachers' handling of an incident involving a LGBTQ speakers' bureau AND by CTC's issuance in late 1995, of a major report on school violence issues...a report which completely omits, unbelievable as it may seem, any mention of anti-LGBT school violence.
The Education Code relating to HIV education reads:
POLICY STATEMENT ON SCHOOL-BASED COMMUNITY EDUATION ADOPTED.
The State Board of Education adopted a policy statement on school-based community education in June 1994, replacing a policy statement on community education it had adopted in 1981. YOU CAN USE THIS POLICY STATEMENT TO ARGUE FOR STUDENT INTERNSHIPS AND VOLUNTEER PLACEMENTS WITH LGBT SERVICE AGENCIES!!!
POLICY STATEMENT SCHOOL-BASED COMMUNITY EDUCATION
"Recognizing that educational quality is enhanced by a dynamic partnership among school, home, and community, ALL CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS, PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO DEVELOP OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN COMMUNITY SERVICE PROGRAMS LINKED TO THE CURRICULUM, AS WELL AS TO PROMOTE STUDENT PARTICIPATION IN THOSE PROGRAMS THROUGH APPROPRIATE RECOGNITION AND REWARD. IN THIS WAY, POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND COMMUNITIES WILL BE ENHANCED, AND THE LIFELONG COMMITMENT OF STUDENTS TO COMMUNITY SERVICE WILL BE FOSTERED. [emphasis added by editor].
The United States of America is founded upon a tradition of active citizen involvement and participation in civic and community affairs, and all educators recognize the essential role of schools in ensuring that this valued tradition flourishes.
LEARNING THROUGH COMMUNITY SERVICE CONTRIBUTES TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHARACTER, VALUES, SELF-ESTEEM, RESPONSIBILITY, AND KNOWLEDGE OF IMPORTANT LOCAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS. YOUTH PARTICIPATION IN RESPONSIBLE AND MEANINGFUL COMMUNITY SERVICE EXPERIENCES ENHANCES LEADERSHIP ABILITIES, CREATIVITY, AND COOPERATIVE LEARNING AND PROVIDES A FOUNDATION FOR EVERY STUDENT TO EXPERIENCE SUCCESS AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY. [emphasis added by editor]. Community service also helps ensure the optimal use of human and financial resources through coordination of effort by governmental agencies, businesses and industries, human service organizations, and civic organizations in local areas. COMMUNITY SERVICE CONTRIBUTES TO A SENSE OF COMMUNITY PRIDE AND "OWNERSHIP" AMONG STUDENTS, THUS STRENGTHENING THEIR COLLECTIVE SENSE OF SAFETY AND LESSENING THE POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENCE AND VANDALISM. [emphasis added by editor].
Community service appropriate for students includes, but is not limited to, tutoring, peer counseling, providing companionship to the elderly, volunteering in hospitals and charitable agencies, beautifying surroundings, environmental improvement and enhancement, participation in the electorial process, assisting at food banks and homeless shelters, and being aides in organized child care and development activities. A comprehensive school-based community service program offers a wide range of opportunities for student participation.
Effective school-based community service programs clearly articulate service and learning goals. They are anchored in the curriculum, showing students the relationship between what they are learning with what they are experiencing. These programs provide opportunities to make decisions, build teamwork and cooperation, encourage participation by and among diverse populations, and ensure systematic opportunities for reflection.
Effective school-based community service programs require the commitment of students and their families and of all adults at the school--faculty, support staff, and volunteers--and in the community--particularly representatives of governmental agencies, civic and community organizations, businesses and industries."
California and Goals 2000 (see intro for discussion of Goals 2000)
In California, the State plan will be developed during 1995 by a panel appointed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor. For local planning efforts, a formal Request for Applications will probably be issued in late February of 1995.
It is anticipated that much of the planning for systemic reform should be done during the fall and winter months due to an expected short time line for return of the RFA. It is therefore important that districts or counties considering applying for these grants seek out information prior to issuance of the RFA. Three sources of information will be available, the fall meetings, information posted on the CDE gopher accessible on Internet, and printed information that parallels much of the bulletin board postings. Printed information may be obtained by calling the Regional Programs and Special Projects Office at (916) 657-2516. In general it will also be available through county offices.
LOCAL PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SYSTEMIC REFORM. THE GOALS 2000 GRANTS PROCESS IS INTENDED TO BUILD ON CALIFORNIA'S PREVIOUS EFFORTS AT SYSTEMIC REFORM. THE FOCUS OF EFFORTS DURING THE INITIAL YEAR WILL NOT BE MERELY THE CREATION OF ONE MORE PLAN, BUT RATHER THE SETTING IN PLACE OF AN INCLUSIVE PROCESS FOR INVOLVING VARIOUS SEGMENTS OF THE COMMUNITY IN RETHINKING THE WORK OF THE DISTRICT AND THE EFFORTS OF VARIOUS LEVELS OF SCHOOLING. THE WORK OF THE INITIAL YEAR IS INTENDED TO GO WELL BEYOND A PLANNING PROCESS. IT IS EXPECTED THAT PARTICIPANTS WILL TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ASSESS THE EFFECTS ON STUDENTS OF WHATEVER REFORM EFFORTS ARE CURRENTLY UNDERWAY IN THE DISTRICT AND TO IDENTIFY THE KEY ISSUES AND ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS WHICH BOTH SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS MUST ADDRESS IN ORDER TO MOVE FORWARD. AS PART OF THIS LEARNING PROCESS, SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS MAY WISH TO BEGIN PILOT EFFORTS DURING THE PLANNING PERIOD. [emphasis added by editor; with so much analysis and planning getting underway throughout the system, there should be many many opportunities for supporters of LGBT educational equity to get involved and demonstrate the need for inclusive curricula.
In an effort to encourage flexibility in the way in which schools respond to the needs of students, Goals 2000 also encourages schools and districts to seek waivers of statutes and regulations that inhibit their efforts. To this end, the legislation allows for relief from federal regulations via waivers for districts participating in systemic reform with the provision that state and local regulations regarding the situation are previously waived. The California Department of Education already has in place statutory authority to grant waivers of state law. In addition, the CDE will work with the State Board of Education to develop procedures for processing waivers of Federal statute.
STATE PLANNING FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM. THE PARALLEL STATE LEVEL PLANNING EFFORT FOR SYSTEMIC REFORM WILL INVOLVE A DIVERSE GROUP OF EDUCATORS, STATE OFFICERS, LEGISLATORS, PARENTS, AND MEMBERS OF THE BUSINESS AND SOCIAL SERVICE COMMUNITIES. THE PANEL WILL SEEK INFORMATION AND DIRECTION FROM THE PUBLIC and develop a plan that will not only guide and respond to systemic reform in districts but that will also support the coordinated implementation of planning related to technology, to school-to- work transition, and to the reauthorization of ESEA.
The panel will be charged with addressing the four major dimensions addressed by the local planning efforts, and with providing mechanisms for making the improvements systemwide and for developing benchmarks for judging progress on student performance and accountability systems for program improvement. In addition, the state planning effort should promote bottom-up reform, develop strategies to keep students from dropping out of school, and support coordination of vocational and academic instruction.
In 1994, there was a firestorm of controversy in California about the new California Learning Assessment System (state tests). There was a leak of confidential test material, the leak itself being controversial, as well as the fact that the information was leaked TO the right wing. The third controversy was that the right wing attacked the tests as anti-religious mind-control which contravened parental control, invaded a student's privacy, and were biased in favor of so-called "political correctness." AS A RESULT, SEVERAL IMPORTANT POLICY CHANGES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED, OFFERING GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR ACTIVE PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT:
The Assessment Advisory Committees in each of the content areas, WHICH HAVE TRADITIONALLY BEEN PRIMARILY EDUCATORS, WILL NOW BE AUGMENTED TO INCLUDE MORE MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC, including at least one member representing each of the following: parents, business community, local school boards, practicing professionals, and other community representation. [emphasis added]
PUBLIC MEMBERSHIP ON COMMUNITY REVIEW PANELS (WHICH WERE FORMERLY REFERRED TO AS BALANCED TREATMENT OR SOCIAL CONTENT REVIEW PANELS) WILL BE INCREASED FROM ONE-FOURTH OF THE MEMBERS TO ONE-HALF IN ORDER TO REFLECT BETTER THE PERSPECTIVES OF THE POPULATION AT LARGE. THESE REVIEWS WILL ENHANCE SENSITIVITY TO MATERIALS THAT MIGHT REFLECT ETHNIC, RACIAL, CULTURAL, RELIGIOUS, GENDER, SOCIOECONOMIC, OR REGIONAL BIAS OR STEREOTYPING. However, activists on BOTH sides will be getting involved, and presently the radical religious right is much bigger, richer, and better organized around educational issues in California than we are.
Senate Bill 430, in the current CA legislative session, proposes a new statewide assessment system and statewide regional public hearings. Pat Newsome, Deputy Superintendent of the Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch, notes that SB 430 would establish a new program, California Assessment of Academic Achievement, and a new commission, the Commission for the Establishment of Academic Content and Performance Standards. We recommend closely following developments re SB 430, as implementation of rigorous content and performance standards is being fast-tracked for actualization in the 1995-96 school year.
POLICY STATEMENT ON HATE-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE. WHAT APPEARS BELOW IS EXTREMELY POWERFUL AND USEFUL STUFF. IT MAKES A COMPELLING CASE, ALTHOUGH NOT EXPLICITLY SO STATED, FOR INCLUSION OF FAIR AND ACCURATE LGBT CURRICULAR MATERIALS, SINCE THAT IS ESSENTIAL TO PREVENTION OF HOMOPHOBIA-FORMATION AND THEREFORE TO PREVENTION OF HOMOPHOBIC HATE VIOLENCE, MUCH OF WHICH IS, AS STUDIES REPEATEDLY DEMONSTRATE, PERPETRATED BY YOUNG PEOPLE!!!
The State Board in April of 1994 adopted a policy statement on hate-motivated violence. [CAPITALIZATION in the below quoted Board policy is added by the authors to indicate potentially useful language].
"SCHOOL SAFETY IS ONE OF THE BOARD'S THREE PRIORITY AREAS for 1993-94 and beyond," commented Mrs. Larsen. "This policy is one of the key work products resulting from our focus on that area. Moreover, it meets one of the major goals set forth in Governor Pete Wilson's strategy for addressing hate-motivated violence. We are quite pleased with the statement, and we believe it provides both strong leadership and effective guidance for the public schools. We hope and trust it will be widely considered, embraced, and utilized."
"VIOLENCE DIRECTED AT INDIVIDUALS BECAUSE OF THEIR PHYSICAL OR CULTURAL CHARACTERISTICS OR BELIEFS IS INTOLERABLE IN THIS OR ANY OTHER SOCIETY. The PUBLIC SCHOOLS--with the cooperation and assistance of parents, students, business and community representatives--HAVE THE MORAL OBLIGATION TO PREVENT, COMBAT, AND HEAL THE WOUNDS FROM HATE VIOLENCE THROUGH CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION, STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES, AND, WHEN NECESSARY, DIRECT INTERVENTION.
"THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION BELIEVES THAT EVERY EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO ELIMINATE HATE-MOTIVATED VIOLENCE. While every responsible citizen must play a part in eradicating this violence, the Board believes that a major step in this effort can be made through the leadership of our public schools. [THESE LOCAL] POLICIES SHOULD ESTABLISH THE RIGHT OF ALL STUDENTS, STAFF, AND PARENTS TO BE FREE FROM HATE CRIMES, and should affirm that each school within the district will be responsible for creating an environment that prevents hate-motivated violence.
"Based on LOCAL BOARD POLICIES, DISTRICT LEADERSHIP should DEVELOP GUIDELINES AND IN-SERVICE PROGRAMS designed to assist teachers and administrators deal with hate-motivated behavior and crime. These guidelines can help staff, students, and parents to customize their own action plan for their campus.
"The specific actions local education agencies take in this effort should be developed in light of local circumstances but be in keeping with a comprehensive plan prepared well ahead of any incidents. AT A MINIMUM, ALL SCHOOLS SHOULD WORK TO FOSTER POSITIVE BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES ABOUT DIVERSITY AMONG ALL STUDENTS AND STAFF MEMBERS THROUGH CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES. ONE WAY OF DOING THIS AT THE CURRICULAR LEVEL IS TO ENSURE ALIGNMENT WITH THE STATE FRAMEWORKS, PARTICULARLY IN THE AREAS OF HEALTH EDUCATION, HISTORY-SOCIAL SCIENCE, AND ENGLISH- LANGUAGE ARTS.
"THE STATE BOARD AFFIRMS THE VALUE OF DIVERSITY IN OUR SOCIETY AND ITS BELIEF IS CLEARLY STATED IN ITS ADOPTED CURRICULUM FRAMEWORKS AND REFORM DOCUMENTS. For example, one of the four unifying ideas of the 1992 HEALTH FRAMEWORK FOR CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE TWELVE IS RESPECT FOR AND PROMOTION OF THE HEALTH OF OTHERS. THE DOCUMENT RECOGNIZES VIOLENCE AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE AND URGES THAT THE CURRICULUM AT ALL GRADE LEVELS INCLUDE A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE.
"The 1988 HISTORY-SOCIAL SCIENCE FRAMEWORK FOR CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE TWELVE declares:
/ We want our students to learn about the cultures, /
/ societies, and economic systems that prevail in other /
/ parts of the world and TO RECOGNIZE THE POLITICAL AND /
/ CULTURAL BARRIERS THAT DIVIDE PEOPLE AS WELL AS THE /
/ COMMON HUMAN QUALITIES THAT UNITE THEM. /
"THE 1987 ENGLISH-LANGUAGE ARTS FRAMEWORK states:
[A] SYSTEMATIC MEANING-CENTERED literature program for all students...will provide for future adults with
"HERE THEY COME: READY OR NOT! (the 1988 Report of the School Readiness Task Force) stresses the IMPORTANCE OF MEETING THE SPECIAL NEEDS OF OUR CULTURALLY AND LINGUISTICALLY DIVERSE STUDENTS, as well as the needs of exceptional children, TO PREPARE THEM FOR SUCCESSFUL PARTICIPATION IN SCHOOL AND SOCIETY. IT'S ELEMENTARY (THE 1992 ELEMENTARY GRADES TASK FORCE REPORT) EMPHASIZES THE VITAL NEED FOR INSTRUCTION IN 'MORALS AND VALUES,' INCLUDING HONESTY, CIVILITY, RESPONSIBILITY, TOLERANCE, SELF-DISCIPLINE, PATIENCE, COMPASSION, REVERENCE FOR LIFE, and pride in work. The document also recommends strategies to make schools into truly 'caring' communities.
"A key recommendation of CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE (THE 1987 REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT'S MIDDLE GRADES TASK FORCE) IS THAT 'EVERY MIDDLE GRADE STUDENT SHOULD BE HELPED TO PERSONALIZE IDEALS and to develop the ability to make reasoned moral and ethical choices....THESE IDEALS INCLUDE COMMITMENT TO HARD WORK, PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, HONESTY, COOPERATION, SELF-DISCIPLINE, FREEDOM, APPRECIATION OF HUMAN DIVERSITY, and the importance of education itself.' SECOND TO NONE (THE 1992 REPORT OF THE CALIFORNIA HIGH SCHOOL TASK FORCE) STRESSES THE CREATION OF A COMPREHENSIVE STUDENT SUPPORT SYSTEM AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO INVOLVE STUDENTS IN ACTIVITIES THAT WILL LEAD TO POSITIVE SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
"OTHER DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE TO SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS AS THEY INTERWEAVE PRO-SOCIAL AND ANTI-HATE VIOLENCE THEMES INTO THEIR INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES INCLUDE MODEL CURRICULUM FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND GENOCIDE AND HANDBOOK ON THE LEGAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SCHOOL PERSONNEL AND STUDENTS IN THE AREAS OF MORAL AND CIVIC EDUCATION AND TEACHING ABOUT RELIGION. The Model Curriculum opens with a sweeping passage that is quite relevant to hate-motivated violence:
'THERE IS NO MORE URGENT TASK FOR EDUCATORS IN THE FIELD OF HISTORY AND SOCIAL SCIENCE THAN TO TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS and to analyze with them the actual instances in which genocide--the ultimate violation of human rights--has been committed. We study the atrocities of the past not only to preserve their significance as historical events but also to help identify ways to prevent the atrocities from ever happening again.'
"The HANDBOOK provides a great deal of information and advice pertinent to the prevention of and response to hate-motivated violence. A key passage states:
'School personnel must foster in students an understanding of the moral values that form the foundation of American society. The American heritage and laws reflect a common core of personal and social morality. Habits that reveal a commitment to moral values include telling the truth, being trustworthy, and respecting the opinions of others. MORAL PEOPLE AFFIRM THE WORTH AND DIGNITY OF OTHERS IN THEIR ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS. THEY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR DECISIONS AND FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THOSE DECISIONS. MORAL PEOPLE ALSO VALUE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND RESPECT FOR THE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE OF OTHERS. THEY HAVE A CAPACITY FOR SELF-EVALUATION AND ARE WILLING TO ADMIT ERROR AND ALTER VIEWS. MORALLY COMMITTED PEOPLE HOLD AND EXPRESS THEIR OWN MORAL CONVICTIONS AND BELIEFS AND RESPECT THE DIVERSE VIEWS OF OTHER INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS.' "DISTRICT LEADERSHIP SHOULD PROVIDE THE NECESSARY RESOURCES TO ALLOW TEACHERS TO USE THESE DOCUMENTS to develop and implement lessons which promote citizenship and respect in a democratic society and WHICH CAN HELP STUDENTS UNDERSTAND THE CAUSES OF PREJUDICE, RACISM, DISCRIMINATION, AND STEREOTYPING AND THEIR NEGATIVE INFLUENCE IN OUR SOCIETY. THESE LESSONS SHOULD ALSO DEVELOP WITHIN STUDENTS AN APPRECIATION OF DIVERSITY AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF MINORITY GROUPS TO OUR SOCIETY. They should promote positive interaction among students of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups.
"In schools and communities at increased risk of hate violence, schools should extend their efforts to embrace active development of cocurricular and extracurricular activities that promote pro-social attitudes and behaviors, such as clubs that encourage understanding and cooperation. In addition, counseling and other student support service personnel at such schools should not only focus their efforts on precluding outbreaks of hate violence, but also provide specific assistance to classroom teachers toward that end.
"FINALLY, IN SCHOOLS AT EXTREME RISK OF HATE VIOLENCE, THE PRO- ACTIVE INTERVENTION OF SCHOOL OFFICIALS--particularly where local, state, national, or international events are likely to cause outbreaks of hate violence--IS NEEDED. THIS CAN BE DONE THROUGH SUCH MEASURES AS ASSEMBLIES, PEER EXCHANGE, COMMUNITY MEETINGS, SPECIFIC INSERVICE TRAINING, AND OTHER SUCH ACTIVITIES. SCHOOLS FACING CIRCUMSTANCES THAT IMMINENTLY COULD RESULT IN HATE VIOLENCE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY ACCESS SPECIFIC RESOURCES TO HELP ADDRESS THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES PRO- ACTIVELY AND AVERT HATE-RELATED CRISES. Many such resources are available from federal, state, and local agencies."
---end Board Policy on Hate-motivated Violence---
SAFE SCHOOLS REGULATIONS ADOPTED.
State Board policy changes in response to Student Input:
The Board in February of 1994 approved a comprehensive package of responses to the recommendations of the 1993-94 Student Advisory Board on Education (SABE). The State Board has adopted a new Policy Statement on Peer Discussion consistent with this SABE recommendation [#3], urging all local educational agencies TO PROVIDE FOR PEER DISCUSSION IN APPROPRIATE SETTINGS AND GOVERNED BY RESPONSIBLE RULES.
"The State Board has an existing Policy Statement on Guidance and Counseling that says, in part, 'All students attending public schools in California are entitled to receive the benefits of effective guidance and counseling programs and services designed to meet their personal, social and career needs.'
"The State Board clearly supports the focus of this recommendation [#4]: Enhancement of counseling services in the public schools. However, given the state's economic condition, the Board cannot in good conscience seek legislation to earmark additional funding exclusively for counseling services, as doing so would undoubtedly take funds away from general purpose allocations to schools and reduce local flexibility in determining expenditure priorities. [...] However, the Board does find one significant point in this recommendation that needs to be emphasized: STUDENT CONSULTATION ON THE ALLOCATION OF LOCAL FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR COUNSELING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES SHOULD BE ENHANCED. Therefore, the Board has directed that this point be incorporated into a revised version of the Policy Statement on Guidance and Counseling; this policy statement is now being analyzed and updated by the CDE staff as part of the Board's comprehensive review of existing policy statements."
N.B. We STRONGLY recommend that you cc The Office of Assemblymember Sheila James Kuehl on everything you send either the Board, the Commission, the Superintendent, or any member of the State Deptment of Education staff. Write State Capitol, Room 2141, P.O. Box 924849, Sacramento, CA 94249-0001, ATTN: JENNIFER RICHARD.
N.B. Local school board elections are held in April every year.
At the end of the California section (after all the resources and media), you will find sample letters written by us to various entities of the state educational system. These letters can serve both as templates for your own letter-writing and to illustrate the intricate evasions of the bureaucracy in order to prepare you for some of the subtle maneuvering you, too, are likely to encounter. You will also find a chart detailing the Adoption Cycle and one detailing the structure of staffing within the state DOE.
In your letter writing, you may find it useful to cite the following policy statement from the California Teachers' Association:
CALIFORNIA TEACHERS ASSOCIATION POLICY
The California Teachers Association URL is
Here you will find a list of generic mailing contact info for all 58 California County Offices of Education/Superintendents of Schools, another very influential body of agencies and officials at the next level down from the state. This is provided to those of you wishing to do statewide mailings to such offices to survey their positions vis-a-vis LGBT educational equity and/or wishing to send them information to educate them or apprise them of some services/resources you offer or have available. The names of current Superintendents and much more detail are available at
County Boards of Education can also be reached at these same addresses (and Alameda and San Mateo County Superintendents are VERY supportive!!!):
Individual CA school districts can be found through web searches. Start at
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)
The CTC is responsible for many important functions in California public education (K-12), including the establishment of requirements for credentials that authorize public school teaching and service; standards for programs, personnel, subject mater, and professional practices.
The California School Boards Association (CSBA)
The CSBA is a collaborative group of more than 5,000 school board members from nearly 1,000 school districts and county offices of education statewide. http://www.csba.org/
WestEd is a non-profit research, development and service agency dedicated to improving education and other opportunities for children, youth and adults. Drawing on the best from research and practice, it works with practitioners and policymakers to address critical issues in education and other related areas.
California State Parent Teacher Association
The California State PTA is a volunteer organization that works to promote the education and well-being of all children and youth at home, in school and in the community.
California Teachers Association
The professional association for the state's teachers. Has a lesbian/gay caucus.
Next Section of the California DocumentCopyright 1995, The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project. Last updated 8/1/2005 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU