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Governor Schwarzenegger Places Special Interests Before California Students by Signing Harvey Milk Bill

by Staff
October 14, 2009

SACRAMENTO, ( -- Last night Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 572, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). SB 572 requires the Governor of California to annually proclaim May 22 as Harvey Milk Day to honor the first openly homosexual politician. The bill also encourages schools to conduct "commemorative exercises" and programs that focus on Milk's contributions.

California Family Council (CFC) is disappointed that Governor Schwarzenegger has placed the interests of a specific group over the educational needs of students. SB 572 wrongly encourages schools to sacrifice students' class time in order to appease special-interest groups. "It is unfortunate that the Governor has chosen to favor a special-interest agenda over students and parents," stated Everett Rice, CFC's Legislative Director.

There are currently three "commemorative" days in California's calendar related to honoring teachers, John Muir, and the California Poppy flower. SB 572 promotes the controversial subject of sexual orientation in public school classrooms with children as young as five years of age.

SB 572 is similar to the bill the Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed last year. In the governor's veto message then, he stated that Milk's "contributions should continue to be recognized at the local level by those who were most impacted by his contributions."

"Despite tens of thousands of California citizens expressing their opposition to SB 572 by phoning or writing his offices, Governor Schwarzenegger has abandoned parents and students to assuage special interest groups," said Ron Prentice, CFC's director. "Commemorating Harvey Milk in public schools, primarily because of his sexual orientation, goes against the values and expectations of the majority of California's parents."

Research has found that student achievement is directly equated with the amount of time a student is engaged in academic learning. Regardless of one's opinion about Milk or the homosexual lifestyle, SB 572 inappropriately pressures schools to divert scarce resources and time away from educational needs, focusing instead on controversial, non-academic topics.

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