The Crosby Chronicles: Politicians don't make good teachers

Gov. Brown signed a bill last Thursday that requires California schools to use history textbooks and lessons that mention positive contributions from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. No other state has such a requirement.

While I have no problem including in a history textbook anybody who is important in human history, I do have a problem when it is mandated by elected officials just because it is politically expedient to do so.

No other group of highly educated professionals has so much of their work environment controlled as do teachers. And, what makes politicians qualified to teach history?

If a person of historical significance should be known by all school children, why should kids know the sexual orientation of such an individual?  Such a designation makes the sexual orientation issue itself more important than whatever contribution the person made to society. 

If the goal is to show all children that there are good people from all backgrounds, then just say so.  When mentioning great writers of the 20th century, is it really necessary to say “gay author Truman Capote”?

What binds Americans together are the common values and visions we share.  However, when each person has to be categorized and identified by gender and ethnicity, such labeling separates us.

This is another example of why politicians should not be in charge of public education.

Brian Crosby is a teacher at Hoover High School and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.  He can be reached at

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