Governor Jerry Brown of California signed the FAIR Education Act which mandates inclusion of the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in social science courses, making California the first state to adopt such a measure (Democracy Now and Truthout, July 15, 2011). The research group Equality California hails the law, saying it will lead to greater student safety and lower rates of bullying. Various studies show that bullies in school are at least 4 times more likely to be violent with their adult partners (www.care2.com, June 10, 2011).
Charter schools are being scrutinized from several new angles: being built by foreign companies and being forced upon affluent suburb schools. Texas charter schools are being built by the Cosmos Foundation, a charter school operator founded a decade ago by Turkish professors and businessmen. Using the name Harmony Schools, Cosmos has quickly become the largest charter school operator in Texas, "with 33 schools receiving more than $100 million a year in taxpayer funds" (The New York Times, June 8, 2011). In New Jersey, a group called Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools are fighting the introduction of charter schools into affluent suburbs, saying their schools already do an excellent job educating their children and that charter schools "would siphon money from its children's education for unnecessarily specialized programs" (The New York Times, July 17, 2011).
In May 2011, Scholastic, the world's largest educational publisher, announced it would immediately stop distributing a controversial fourth grade curriculum paid for by the American Coal Foundation. The announcement came just two days after the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and Rethinking Schools launched a campaign demanding that Scholastic stop pushing coal in elementary schools. For more information on commercial-free schools, go to www. commercialfreeschools.org.
California Governor Jerry Brown is taking some first steps to reduce the nation's testing mania. He is...