DC updates social studies standards to include LGBTQ+ history
Author: Bil Browning
The DC State Board of Education has unanimously approved a new social studies standard for public and charter schools. Officials say the new standards are written to be “anti-racist,” “promote civic engagement,” improve media literacy, and deliberately include under-represented minority groups like LGBTQ+ people.
The standards were last updated in 2006. The new standards will go into effect in the 2024-2025 school year.
“It is an emotional day,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant said Wednesday. “When we look at this country and look at where we are, we are so fortunate and privileged to do this work in this city at this time…to pass forward looking historically accurate, exciting standards.”
The far-right has prioritized infiltrating local and state school boards recently to ban books, rewrite America’s history surrounding racism, and erase discussions of LGBTQ+ people and issues from classrooms. Perhaps the most notorious example of school board chaos happened in nearby Loudon County, VA, in July 2021, when right-wing Christians staged a meltdown to protest policy to protect trans students. The event grew so disruptive that police were called, and one man was arrested.
The lack of updates since 2006 shocked State Board member Jessica Sutter, who taught social studies when the standards were first adopted.
“The majority of schoolchildren in Washington D.C. are Black,” Sutter told DCist. “The nation’s capital, home to President Barack Obama…the social studies standards did not include the existence of him as president. That seemed to me deeply problematic on a bunch of levels, but specifically because the children in the city had a president who looked like them.”
The new standards require teachers to incorporate LGBTQ+ history into the curriculum. From the Lavender Scare to Obergefell v Hodges, students will learn about key historical moments in LGBTQ+ history.
Sutter said the update aims to ensure that “every child in the city has a chance to see themselves as part of the story of history, and not just history as something that happened to other people.”
“We’re right now putting forward something that makes the statement that we want our students here in D.C. to be informed, to be critical thinkers, to be good citizens,” said Eric Goulet, Ward 3 Representative.
Ward 6 Representative Brandon Best agreed, saying he is “proud” of the update because “by acknowledging our past we can actively work towards building a better future.”
Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Bil Browning