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LGBT Groups Urge CA To Reject History Books

California Department of Parks and Recreation

Writer and illustrator J. Ross Browne holds tight as Charley Parkhurst drives the stage.

California Department of Parks and Recreation

A group of activists is asking California education officials to reject history books they say do not include LGBT material.

Members of Equality California and other gay rights groups are planning to speak today before the Instructional Quality Commission, which makes curriculum recommendations to the California Board of Education. 

They're asking them to reject middle-school social studies material published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and National Geographic that they say doesn't include LGBT history. They say these materials violate the FAIR Education Act, which requires California schools to include fair, accurate representations of disabled and LGBT people in history and social studies cirriculums.

The coaliton of activists says students' history lessons should include stories of people like famous Gold Rush-era stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst, who drove routes through Sacramento and Stockton. After death, it was revealed that Parkhurst was a woman.

A Houghton Mifflin Harcourt spokesperson wrote in an email the publisher has been collaborating closely with advocates and has updated its content to ensure it is inclusive and representative of LGBT history.

But the coalitions says the response was "more than disappointing."

Another curriculum controversy emerged earlier this year at a Rocklin charter school when a kindergartner brought a transgender-themed storybook to school.

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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