California state officials have pledged to purchase and distribute a social studies textbook that was rejected by the Temecula Valley Unified School District in Southern California.
The decision to distribute the textbook comes after the school board voted against adopting a state-endorsed curriculum that included material on gay rights. The rejection of the curriculum sparked controversy, with some board members claiming insufficient parental involvement and making disparaging remarks about gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his concern over the censorship of the social studies book by the local school board and announced that the state would secure textbooks for students in the district if the board failed to take action at its next meeting.
The proposed curriculum, designed for grades one through five, included supplemental resources that covered the life and work of Harvey Milk, an openly gay politician. The rejection of the curriculum prompted an outcry from parents during a public hearing in June.
State legislative leaders, including Senate President pro-Tempore Toni G. Atkins, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, joined Governor Newsom in condemning the rejection of the textbook.
They expressed their opposition to what they described as a book ban and stated that the state would consider imposing fines on school districts that failed to provide adequate instructional materials.
In response to the governor’s announcement, Joseph Komrosky, president of the Temecula school board and a board member who voted against the curriculum, clarified that the board did not ban a book but chose not to adopt the curriculum for district-wide use.
The tweet below verifies the news:
California state leaders vow to provide textbooks for students after a school board rejected a social studies curriculum https://t.co/dDxJqmqe8n
— Erie News Now (@ErieNewsNow) July 14, 2023
Komrosky explained that concerns were raised about supplemental material related to a lesson about Milk, emphasizing that the decision was not based on Milk’s sexual orientation but rather his relationship with a minor.
The rejected curriculum is one of four state-approved textbooks currently in use across numerous school districts in California. Governor Newsom criticized what he referred to as “cancel culture” and expressed his determination to ensure that students have access to up-to-date and accurate information.
The state is prepared to deliver the textbook to students and their parents, with any associated costs billed to the district if necessary.
The school board is set to review a new proposed curriculum at its next meeting on July 18, which is expected to meet state standards. State officials hope that distributing the textbook will ensure students have the necessary materials for the upcoming school year.
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