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Calif. Schools To Teach Students About 'Significance' Of Obama Presidency

PASADENA ( — A bill authored by a Pasadena lawmaker that encourages schools to teach about the historical significance of Barack Obama becoming the nation's first African-American president is now California law.

KNX 1070's Bob Brill reports Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1912, whose author, Assemblymember Chris Holden, says will be the first step toward acknowledging President Obama's legacy for generations to come.

Calif. Schools To Teach Students About 'Significance' Of Obama Presidency

AB 1912 asks the State Board of Education and the Instructional Quality Commission advisory panel to include the "significance of the United States electing its first African American President" in the 2008 election in the state's history and social science standards for grades seven to twelve.

The bill - which passed the Assembly in April a 71-0 vote and no debate or discussion - calls the election a "historic step in the effort towards equality in the United States" and that previous elections in the nation involved intimidation and physical violence that prevented millions of African-Americans from voting, according to the Associated Press.

It also commends Obama for his work as a community organizer who registered voters after he graduated from Harvard Law School.

"Just 145 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, and only a generation removed from the civil rights struggles, President Obama's election represented the moment when all things seemed possible," Holden said in a statement.

California hasn't updated its guidelines for teaching social studies classes since 2005. A 2009 effort was cancelled because of limited money, the Associated Press reported.

But while Holden said the legislation enjoyed overwhelming, bipartisan support as it made its way through Sacramento this year, author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson said it's unusual for a state legislature to pass a bill telling schools they should include a president in classroom curriculum.

"There really shouldn't be a need for this, a special bill," said Hutchinson. "Obviously, President Obama did make history, becoming the first African-American [President], but on the other hand, he is the President of the United States. It is a signature accomplishment in the sense that, as other presidents, they're routinely taught."

Textbooks could be updated within five years, likely after Mr. Obama leaves office.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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