(LA Progressive) -- Governor Brown’s signing into law of the California Healthy Youth Act (AB329) is a milestone for California. Along with mandating “comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased sexual health” in schools, the bill focuses on “provid[ing] pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage, and family.”
To be implemented beginning on January 1, 2016, AB 329, authored by San Diego Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, has the exciting potential for disrupting the inequality and culture of silence surrounding gender and sexuality in schools. However, this curricular change is just one step in undoing entrenched practices that reinforce gender and sexual hierarchies, foster misperceptions, and are exclusionary within our schools.
The teaching of gender and sexuality is not new. However, rather than take center stage with the three R’s in our curriculum, the lessons so central to our lives have typically been evaded or relegated to the hidden curriculum. In this form, they have appeared insidiously in schools in unequal messages about opportunities, ways of being, and relationships.
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