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Children Who Grow Up with Gay or Lesbian Parents: How Are Today's Schools Meeting This "Invisible" Group's Needs?

Rubin, Steven A.

Abstract: Although an estimated 6 to 14 million children live with a sexual minority parent, it is apparent that these children's needs are not being entirely met by school efforts to be more inclusive. This study examined: (1) how well or poorly the resources of elementary and middle school libraries meet the needs of these children; and (2) what educators' views and ideas are for implementing curriculum changes and support services for these students. Availability of library books and other school related materials depicting alternative family experiences and lifestyles was assessed in a cross-section of schools. In addition, classroom teachers, school personnel, and administrators in graduate level education administration programs were surveyed. The results suggested that, contrary to the general belief of lack of these types of families in rural settings, most of the 14 participant teachers reported specific cases. As for the school libraries, none of the 10 participating school districts had available any fiction book devoted explicitly to the gay family, which was depicted only in books describing different types of alternative families. Regarding educators' beliefs, it appeared that although educators do have an understanding and sensitivity of the needs of this group of students, and are willing to extend services to them, they tended to shift the responsibility onto other parties such as counseling or community resources. Several recommendations were drawn from the results to help educators better meet the needs of these students, including the following: (1) conduct staff sensitivity training; (2) encourage participation of parents in all aspects of the child's education; and (3) keep an open mind. (A copy of the Alternative Families Questionnaire and a list of recommended books for children living in lesbian and gay families are attached.) (AA)

Title: Children Who Grow Up with Gay or Lesbian Parents: How Are Today's Schools Meeting This "Invisible" Group's Needs?
Author: Rubin, Steven A.
Note: 89p.; M.S. Paper, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Publication Year: 1995
Document Type: Dissertation (040); Test, Questionnaire (160)
Target Audience: Teachers and Parents and Practitioners
ERIC Identifier: ED386290
Clearinghouse Identifier: PS023487
This document is available from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service.

Descriptors: * Childhood Needs; Children; Educational Change; * Educational Environment; * Educational Experience; Elementary Secondary Education; Family Characteristics; Homophobia; * Homosexuality; Lesbianism; Library Material Selection; Questionnaires; School Libraries; Social Bias; * Student School Relationship; Teacher Student Relationship; * User Needs [Information]

Identifiers: *Children of Homosexual Parents; Homosexual Literature; Homosexual Parents

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