Update: State Department of Ed Working on LGBT, Disability Rights Curricula

    The Maryland State Department of Education will update history curricula to include lessons on the LGBT and disability rights movements after a push from state lawmakers.

    Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery), a former history teacher, organized a letter signed by 47 lawmakers asking the department to update curricula late last month.

    He posted on social media Tuesday morning that the Department of Education would be developing new standards.

    The move comes as several other states have passed laws to include curriculum focused on LGBT Americans and other groups that were historically underrepresented in lesson plans.

    The state of California was the first to pass a law mandating LGBT curriculum in 2011. Similar laws expanding curriculum to include LGBT and other communities took effect this year in New Jersey, Colorado and Oregon. A bill passed in Illinois is awaiting action by Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D).

    Other states, including Alabama, Arizona and Utah, have moved in recent years to remove restrictions on LGBT content in school curricula.

    In a letter to Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon at the end of July, Luedtke said the state’s existing standards fail to address the development of civil rights for LGBT Americans and for Americans with disabilities.

    “These are important stories for our teachers to tell, not only for those students who are themselves LGBT or who have a disability, but so all of our students have a basic understanding of the challenges faced by significant segments of American society,” he wrote.

    Openly gay lawmakers Del. Luke V. Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery), Del. Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), and Sen. Mary L. Washington (D-Baltimore City) are among those who signed the letter, with their names listed right below Luedtke’s.

    The Maryland State Department of Education did not respond to questions about the change on Tuesday, but PublicNewsService.org reported that the department expects a draft framework for the expanded curriculum to be available in 2020.

    [email protected]

    Danielle E. Gaines
    Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.