Social Studies curriculum in public school erase the existence of queer people. Some small progress has been made in represenatations of women and racial minorities, however we still just don't exist. The damage this does to kids who understand themselves to be gay or are trying to answer the question of their sexuality is clear and present in educational research literature. The scholars have spoken my analysis isn't needed in this vein.
Anyone who has been in schools know that there exists a hidden curriculum of heteronormativity, gender appropriateness, and homophobia. This is in the hallways, locker rooms, and parking lots. Childern learn lessons that frame and reframe how they understand themselves, the world, and the knowledge presented to them in their formal classroom curriculums. Who among us doesn't remember feeling a little awkward with some part of highschool particularly if you were out or knew that you had a queer attraction.
It is also noted and largely true that those who struggle the most with queer issues tend to be the least educated Americans. If you doubt this claim look at the anti-gay posts that have been showing up on this site - grammar is clearly not their strength. However, we have to blame ourselves. What have we done to challenge the lessons taught to young queers? What lessons do we teach young queers in schools? There is some serious work to be done on making sure that history is told in its complexity to all Americans.
Thanksgiving is about togetherness, Columbus was friends with the Native Americans, and the Civil War was to end slavery right? Right? RIGHT? We are a country built on oppressing other people. We go to great lengths to ignore this. As a teacher of future teachers, I focus on responsibility... Incomplete education is an act of violence.