Over the past couple years, several states attempted — and in some instances, succeeded — in passing legislation that brought controversial changes to school curriculums.
For instance, under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s proposed sweeping new school voucher program, tens of millions of Louisiana taxpayer dollars will be used to offer vouchers to more than half of the state’s poor and middle-class public school students. These students can in turn use these vouchers to attend more than 120 private schools, including a number of small, Bible-based learning institutions that boast extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums while championing creationism.
Meanwhile, several states have grappled with how to approach sex education in the classroom. A controversial bill that would have allowed Utah schools to ban sex education and discussion of homosexuality in class passed the state Senate before it was eventually vetoed by Gov. Gary Herbert. In the aftermath of that decision, Republican state Sen. Stuart Reid is sponsoring a bill that would require the state school board to develop a sex education program for parents.
While some schools continue to preach “abstinence-only,” others have softened their sex ed policies to include “abstinence-plus,” which teaches safe-sex practices, contraception and causes and effects of sexually transmitted diseases in addition to abstinence.
With 46 states and the District of Columbia adopting the rigorous new Common Core State Standards, several elected to drop cursive writing from their curriculums, citing too little time to devote to the skill. Among other things, this set of national education standards omits cursive in favor of keyboard proficiency.
In July of last year, California became the first state to require public schools to teach lessons on historical and current contributions of gays and lesbians, a change that is slated to take effect as soon as the 2013-14 school year. New York has since followed suit.
Check out the slideshow below to see more controversial legislation that has affected school curriculums in recent years.
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