NAVIGATOR
Advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 schools

Inclusive Curricular Standards Policies

*Last updated February 2024

ABOUT THIS MAP
Under affirming statewide curricular standards, K-12 local education agencies develop curriculum that includes positive representations of people who are LGBTQI+; Black, Indigenous, or people of color; people with disabilities, and all those who experience marginalization or erasure.

  • Six states passed LGBTQI+ inclusive curricular standards laws that set the expectation for locally created academic curriculum to include affirming representation of LGBTQI+ people in K-12 schools: California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon.
  • Two state education agencies (SEAs) adopted LGBTQI+ inclusive curricular standards. The District of Columbia‘s State Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging the SEA to adopt curricular standards that reflect on the contributions and experiences of LGBTQI+ people. Subsequently, the D.C. Board of Education adopted LGBTQI+ inclusive Social Studies standards. Maryland’s SEA adopted LGBTQI+ inclusive History standards in 2020 after state legislators sent a letter to the SEA urging revisions to include the movements for LGBTQI+ and disability justice.
  • Eight states (California, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington) and the District of Columbia have laws or regulations requiring that sex education be inclusive of LGBTQI+ people. In some states, providing sex education is required (e.g., California), while in others, local education agencies choose to provide sex education and, if they do so, instruction must be LGBTQI+ inclusive (e.g., Illinois).
  • Three states have policies encouraging LGBTQI+ inclusion in locally adopted curriculum.
    • Connecticut passed a law directing the SEA to create an LGBTQI+ inclusive model curriculum and its SEA guidelines for sex education include instruction on sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.
    • Delaware passed a resolution encouraging the SEA to create a model LGBTQI+ inclusive curriculum. Model curriculum do not set a statewide standard for inclusion, but lower the bar for local education agencies to adopt inclusive curriculum.
    • Vermont passed a law establishing a working group to review and recommend updates and additional standards to recognize fully the history, contributions, and perspectives of ethnic groups and social groups, including LGBTQI+ people.

New and old efforts to censor curriculum impose direct and indirect barriers on the adoption of LGBTQI+ inclusive and culturally responsive curriculum by local education agencies.

  • Between 2021 and 2023, five states enacted laws that require parental notification of LGBTQI+ inclusive instruction and either permit parents to opt their child out (Arkansas, Florida, Montana) or require that parents opt into their child receiving LGBTQI+ inclusive instruction (Arizona, Tennessee). Note: Because Florida and Arkansas have enacted more restrictive LGBTQI+ curriculum censorship laws, they are coded dark purple on the map.
  • Eleven states have laws censoring instruction on LGBTQI+ people and topics:
    • Between 2022 and 2023, seven states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida (2023 and 2022), Indiana, Iowa (enforcement paused), Kentucky, and North Carolina) have passed “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” K-12 laws that prohibit instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity that effectively censor LGBTQI+ people and topics. These include total bans and partial, grade-specific bans.
      • Florida’s 2023 law and Iowa‘s law expressly restrict access to LGBTQI+ inclusive school library books and resources.
      • Enforcement of Iowa’s law has been paused while a legal challenge moves forward that could permanently invalidate the law.
    • Earlier attacks on inclusive learning in the 1980s and 1990s prohibited affirming representations of homosexuality in the context of K-12 sex or health education. Four states (Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas) still have these so-called “No Promo Homo” laws.
  • Fourteen states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah) have laws censoring instruction on race and sex-based structural inequality in K-12 schools. Sex-based structural inequality includes the assumption or imposition of a standard that privileges cisgender and heterosexual individuals in legal, educational, and others systems.
    • Arizona‘s 2021 law censoring instruction on race and sex-based structural inequality was subsequently struck down by its states supreme court.
    • Utah‘s law restricts access to inclusive school libraries and enumerates “sexual orientation.”

Source: Analysis of state policy data by GLSEN, supported by state policy data collected and analyzed by Movement Advancement Project (MAP), SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change, and African American Policy Forum. GLSEN continues to assess and categorize states on this map based on updates to state laws and regulations. If you see a state on this map that needs an update, please email policy@glsen.org.

 

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