Sample State Inclusive Curricular Standards Legislation
Legislative Purpose and Findings
- Explain the context and need for the legislation.
- Apply research that informs legislative components.
- If appropriate, mention particular local needs for developing inclusive curriculum.
This statement explains why inclusive curricular standards legislation is critical to engendering long-term well being and educational attainment for youth in K-12 learning communities. It outlines the legislative intent of the law that can serve as reference in the context of relevant court cases. The inclusion of this section—which describes the importance of teaching a curriculum that reflects the fullness of students’ identities and lived experiences and the impact of access to inclusive curriculum—can help in the implementation of the law.
Recommendation: include data on the benefits of inclusive curriculum, when available. GLSEN State Research Snapshots are available for most states and include data on the availability of LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum.
Definitions and Scope of Required and Proscribed Conduct
- Make the Act applicable to all K-12 local education agencies (LEAs) and, where appropriate, charter schools.
- Communicate clear standards for the inclusion of the contributions, perspectives, and experiences of LGBTQ+ people and other communities that experience marginalization to support local curriculum development and the selection of appropriate instructional materials.
- Enumerate specific core academic subjects to which the Act applies.
Where states have existing laws that set standards for the inclusion of one or more communities that experience marginalization, legislators should consider citing those statutes in addition to separately enumerating those communities in the statute. Similarly, where states have existing laws on nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, legislators should consider citing those statutes in Section 2(B) as do California and Illinois4.
State Education Agency Responsibilities
- Clarify the responsibilities of the State Education Agency (SEA).
- Establish timeline and outline supports for LEAs on implementation of curricular standards.
Each SEA must be actively engaged in supporting LEAs on implementation of this Act. Technical assistance resources for LEAs should include information on the process for selection of instructional materials, professional development training for educators, and overall supports on developing model curriculum and curricular resources. Legislators should consider using the sample language below where possible to guide the process of implementations. Oregon Revised Statute 329.045 provides an example of a state law that outlines a more comprehensive approach.5
In some states, SEAs play a key role in the selection of textbooks and other instructional materials that adhere to curricular standards; in other states, LEAs are exclusively responsible for selecting instructional materials.6 The sample language in Section (3)(B) below is adapted for states where SEAs play a key role7 and may otherwise be omitted.
In states where authority on inclusive curricular standards is delegated administratively to SEAs, Chief State School Officers should consider adopting components of this legislation into regulations, guidance, and technical assistance to LEAs.
Local Education Agency Responsibilities
- Clarify the responsibilities of LEAs.
- Establish a timeline and specific actions required for implementation.
LEAs are responsible for reviewing state curricular standards, developing inclusive curriculum for schools that will be reflected in classroom instruction, and adopting textbooks and other instructional materials that adhere to state curricular and instructional materials standards. Legislators should consider the sample language below to support LEAs in developing inclusive curriculum and selecting instructional material. Further, legislators can reference New Jersey Statutes 18A:35-4.35 and 18A:35-4.36a for examples where the LEA is exclusively responsible for selection of approved instructional materials.8
2 LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act of 2022, H.R. 8445, 117th Cong. (2022). https://www.congress.gov/bill/117thcongress/house-bill/8445/text.
4 California SB-48 (2011), https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB48; Illinois Public Act 101-0227 (2019), https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=101-0227&GA=101.
5 Oregon Revised Statutes 329.045, “Revision of Common Curriculum Goals, performance indicators, diploma requirements, Essential Learning Skills and academic content standards,” https://oregon.public.law/statutes/ors_329.045.
6 Education Commission of the States, “Response to Information Request,” (January 1, 2022), https://www.ecs.org/wp-content/uploads/ State-Information-Request_Textbook-Adoption-Policies.pdf.
7 For example, South Carolina is statutorily required to approve textbooks and Rhode Island is statutorily required to provide at least five examples of “high quality curricula and materials” from which LEAs will typically select final materials.
South Carolina Code of Laws Section 59-5-60(7). https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t59c005.php. Rhode Island. Gen. Laws § 16-22-32. High quality curriculum and materials. http://webserver.rilegislature.gov//Statutes/TITLE16/16-22/16-22-32.htm.
8 New Jersey P.L. 2019, CHAPTER 6, approved January 31, 2019, Senate, No. 1569 (Second Reprint), https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2018/AL19/6_.PDF.
New Jersey P.L. 2021, CHAPTER 32, approved March 1, 2021
Assembly, No. 4454 (Second Reprint), https://pub.njleg.state.nj.us/Bills/2020/AL21/32_.PDF.