Illinois adopts new ‘culturally responsive’ teaching standards

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) – Changes are coming to classrooms in Illinois public schools after a congressional committee voted to approve new “culturally responsive” rules for teachers

The Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted to approve the Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards which were passed by the Illinois State Board of Education in December 2020.

The rules claim to promote a more sensitive, inclusive approach to matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation in curriculum.

According to ISBE, the standards support inclusion and equity for students by guiding educators to:

  • Self-reflect and gain a deeper understanding of how their life experiences affect their perspectives;
  • Understand that systems in our society create and reinforce inequities;
  • Learn from and about their students’ cultures, languages, and learning styles to make instruction more meaningful and relevant to their students’ lives;
  • Value students’ feedback and leadership;
  • Support and create opportunities for student advocacy;
  • Develop relationships with families and the community;
  • Curate the curriculum to include and represent a wide spectrum of identities; and
  • Ensure the diversity of the student population is represented within the broader learning environment.

ISBE says the standards are designed to make sure educators are prepared to teach in diverse classrooms.

However, the new set of proposed standards for Illinois teachers are being criticized.

While agreeing that all students should feel welcomed, some state representatives say the standards are pushing partisan politics into schools.

A group of Republican state lawmakers, including State Rep. Dan Brady (105th District), State Rep. Tom Demmer (90th District), State Rep. Adam Niemurg (109th District), and Steven Reick (63rd District) opposed the new standard.

Sen. Paul Schimpf, who is running against JB Pritzker to become Illinois next governor, said in a statement Wednesday, “I am extremely disappointed that JCAR approved the State Board of Education’s Culturally Responsive Teacher Standards.  These standards politicize the teacher certification process and undermine the authority of local school boards, superintendents, and parents to control their children’s’ education.  This is yet another example of top-down, administrative overreach by the Pritzker Administration and illustrates a clear example of why Illinois needs a new governor.” 

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