On Friday's Morning Edition, correspondent Ana Tintocalis from NPR affiliate KQED in San Francisco spotlighted several supporters of California's recently-passed requirement for public schools mandating that they include homosexual historical figures in social studies classes. Only one out of the five people interviewed for Tintocalis's report opposed the new mandate.
The journalist began her report by playing two clips from a public school teacher from a "small district near Sacramento," who, despite expressing enthusiasm over the new law, felt "conflicted" over how to implement it: "It seems like we're meeting a quota, and that I don't like." She then turned to Will Grant, a private school teacher who has "led teacher workshops on how to include gay and lesbian history into social studies classes."
Tintocalis later revealed that "supporters of the new law also believe teaching gay history will help to foster tolerance on campus. U.C. Berkeley professor Tina Trujillo says a change in instruction can shift students' opinions on a given subject." Trujilo herself spun the new change as trying to "make sure that students develop a well-rounded understanding in their communities."
The lone dissenter in the correspondent's report was Randy Thomasson, president of the statewide conservative group Save California. Tintocalis played two clips from Thomasson, but then followed this with two clips from Judy Elliott of the Los Angeles Unified School District who trumpeted the mandate as being "really about empowering kids."
In recent weeks, NPR has had a consistent slant towards the agenda of homosexual activists. On July 11, the All Things Considered program aired back-to-back reports on the legalization of same-sex "marriage" in New York State, but neither one featured any sound bites from conservatives. On June 23, Linton Weeks spotlighted several extreme advocates of eliminating gender differences in an article on NPR.com.
The full transcript of Ana Tintocalis's report on Friday's Morning Edition:
MARY LOUISE KELLY: Gay history is now a requirement in California public schools. A new state law says the contributions of gays and lesbians must be included in social studies instruction.
From member station KQED in San Francisco, Ana Tintocalis reports on how teachers will incorporate this new material into their classes.
ANA TINTOCALIS: Even though the first day of school is a long way off, teacher Eleanor Pracht-Smith is getting her lesson plans together. She's from a small district near Sacramento, but she and other educators are in San Francisco, to learn about how they can address gay and lesbian issues in the classroom.
ELEANOR PRACHT-SMITH: I think it's important to recognize that people from any background can contribute to history. To affirm that they've made accomplishments is nice, and I think, you know, that helps people who recognize themselves and identify with those groups.
TINTOCALIS: The law adds lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender Americans to a long list of groups that should be represented in social studies classes, such as African-Americans or Mexican-Americans. Pracht-Smith says she's a bit conflicted about how she'll put the law into practice.
PRACHT-SMITH: I feel like we're labeling, if we're saying that this person contributed to history and, by the way, they are such and such. It seems like we're meeting a quota, and that I don't like.
TINTOCALIS: One of the people Pracht-Smith can turn to for help is Will Grant. He teaches history at a private school east of San Francisco, The Athenian School. He's led teacher workshops on how to include gay and lesbian history into social studies classes.
WILL GRANT, THE ATHENIAN SCHOOL: People act as if gays and lesbians popped into the historical world in 1969. And when people find out that gays and lesbians have been a part of all cultures, going back past recorded history, then that really shifts the way that people think about things.
TINTOCALIS: Grant says this isn't about teaching sex. It's about recognizing sexual identity.
GRANT: Sex is something that you cover in health class. Sexual identity is this idea of who does your sexuality make you into, and how does that affect a person's- and a group of people's- social position and the way that society looks at them, and the way that they look at society. That's what we cover.
TINTOCALIS: Supporters of the new law also believe teaching gay history will help to foster tolerance on campus. U.C. Berkeley professor Tina Trujillo says a change in instruction can shift students' opinions on a given subject.
TINA TRUJILLO, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY: We already have state law that mandates that we teach about women, that we teach about Asian-Americans, that we teach about various other groups, marginalized and non-marginalized. And the intention behind that law is to make sure that students develop a well-rounded understanding in their communities.
RANDY THOMASSON, SAVE CALIFORNIA: This is not tolerant. It's promoting something.
TINTOCALIS: Randy Thomasson is with the nonprofit group Save California. He says teaching gay history will simply distract students and teachers.
THOMASSON: If you go into a classroom with second graders and say, let me tell you about a man who was really attracted to other men, those kids will squirm. They'll bust up laughing. Why? They're not even sexually developed.
JUDY ELLIOTT, LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT: This is really about empowering kids.
TINTOCALIS: Judy Elliott is in charge of curriculum for the Los Angeles Unified School District. She says teaching about influential gay and lesbian leaders sends a message to gay and straight students that they have promising futures. She says teachers should no longer side-step the issue.
ELLIOTT: So, there'll be lots of opportunities to take a standard, and then find an interesting article or an interested something or other. There are many historians that we study right now that were gay, but nobody talks about them, right?
TINTOCALIS: The new law means California will begin buying new textbooks that include gay and lesbian history, once the state budget improves. California is one of the biggest buyers of teaching materials in the U.S. That means these textbooks will most likely be offered to other states as well. For NPR News, I'm Ana Tintocalis in San Francisco.