Outlook Ohio News: Largest U.S. Council on Teaching History & Social Studies Calls for LGBTQ Inclusion
On December 2nd, the National Council for the Social Studies, the nation’s largest professional organization dedicated to the teaching of history and social studies in grades Pk-12 met in Washington D.C. and overwhelmingly voted to support a resolution calling for the inclusion of LBGTQ+ issues, people, movements, and history in the nation’s history and social studies classrooms. In many states, like in Ohio, LGBTQ+ history are missing from the curriculum or teachers are legally prohibited from discussing them with youth (see Alabama’s “No Promo Homo Law”). California, thanks to the passage of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act into law in 2011 mandates the inclusion of LGBT history in public school curriculums as early as second grade. The rationale behind the successful NCSS resolution was to make visible the many contributions and rich history of LGBT citizens. Topics such as the Stonewall Riots, the contributions of LBGT veterans, Matthew Shepard, Christian Jorgensen, and Harvey Milk could more easily be included. LGBT individuals and their allies have contributed to our nation’s rich historical tapestry. With marriage equality now the law of the land, and LBGT citizens becoming more visible in public office, the media, and in communities, the resolution author noted the importance of taking out of the “curricular closet” the many contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans to the health and vibrancy of our democracy.
The full NCSS resolution was authored by Dr. Megan List, who gave a moving testimony during the House of Delegates on the many societal stigmas and barriers she faces as a trans-women. Dr. List is a teacher at Youngstown State University and an advocate and author on LGBTQ+ issues in teacher education. The full passed resolution will be available on the NCSS website in the coming months, and the authors of the resolution hope it will influence states to include LGBTQ+ issues, events, movements, and people as they revise their state’s social studies academic content standards.
Currently, Ohio’s Department of Education, is seeking public comment through a survey on its social studies academic content standards through January 9th, 2017. Readers are encouraged to submit feedback and comments to help strengthen the visibility and contributions of LGBTQ+ Americans in Ohio’s Social Studies Standards.