New Bill Could Mandate Public Schools To Teach LGBTQ+ History In Washington

Olympia, Washington: A bill approved by the state Senate last week may soon require public schools in Washington to include teachings on the contributions and history of LGBTQ+ people.

A new bill, Senate Bill 5462, is proposing that school districts in Washington be required to incorporate instructional materials that cover historically marginalized and underrepresented groups. This would ensure that students receive a diverse, equitable, and inclusive education.

That encompasses individuals from diverse racial backgrounds, individuals with disabilities, individuals who are neurodiverse, and individuals from different religious affiliations.

The bill mandates that the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in collaboration with the Washington State LGBTQ Commission, revise state learning standards across all grade levels to incorporate the experiences, contributions, and viewpoints of LGBTQ individuals by Dec. 1, 2024.

The legislation was approved by the state Senate with a vote of 29-19, with most votes falling along party lines. The House is currently considering it.

State learning standards currently include the study of historical perspectives from marginalized groups, such as tribal communities affected by European colonization or enslaved and free people of color who fought against oppression in the 13 colonies.

According to Sen. Marko Liias, D-Edmonds, there is a lack of education about significant LGBTQ+ figures in U.S. history and important events within the LGBTQ+ community for Washington students.

Those against the bill claimed that it undermines the authority of local school districts and encroaches on the rights of parents. Senate Republicans also expressed concerns that including new material on marginalized communities could divert attention away from academic instruction on core subjects such as English and math.

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