CCSA Answers: The Fair Education Act and Charter Schools

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August 5, 2016 Question: Does Senate Bill 48, the Fair Education Act, apply to charter schools?

Answer: The Fair Education Act, or Senate Bill 48, adds "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, persons with disabilities, and others to the list of groups of people whose role and contributions shall be accurately portrayed in the instructional materials and included in social science instruction, and adds sexual orientation and religion to the list of characteristics that shall not be reflected adversely in adopted instructional materials." The legislation carves out a major exception for "alternative and charter" schools.

SB 48 does not require charter teachers to actively supplement curriculum with new examples of citizens or historical figures who consider themselves lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The Act states "the intent of the Legislature that alternative and charter schools take notice of the provisions of this bill in light of provisions of existing law that prohibit discrimination in any aspect of their operation" Until further clarification by the legislature or the courts, this means that charter school curriculum must not discriminate against these classes of citizens. The Fair Education Act does not require charter schools to purchase new curriculum. Charter schools are "advised" to take notice of the State's existing non-discrimination legislation and to avoid any negative representations of protected classes.

Read the Fair Education Act here.